ATLANTA—Previous reports suggested major changes were in the FedEx Cup’s future. On Tuesday, the PGA Tour made them official.
Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that, beginning in 2019, the tour's postseason will feature several modifications, highlighted by a simplified scoring system, monetary rewards for regular-season performance and an increased payout for the FedEx Cup champ.
“This is a significant and exciting change for the PGA Tour, our players, our partners and—most importantly—our fans,” Monahan said. “As soon as the Tour Championship begins, any fan—no matter if they’ve followed the PGA Tour all season or are just tuning in for the final event—can immediately understand what’s going on and what’s at stake for every single player in the field. And, of course, players will know exactly where they stand at all times while in play, which will ratchet up the drama, consequence and volatility of the competition down the stretch."
In line with the reports leading up to Tuesday, rather than a points reset at the season finale, the tour will implement a descending strokes-based system calibrated off the playoff standings. Meaning, the player with the most amount of points after the BMW Championship will start the Tour Championship at 10 under par. The following four in rankings will begin at eight under through five under; the next five start at four under, regressing by one stroke for every five players. Those ranked No 26 through 30 will tee off at even par.
This configuration ensures that the player with the lowest total score at East Lake will be the FedEx Cup champion. (Unlike last year, where Xander Schauffele won the Tour Championship but Justin Thomas captured the FedEx Cup.) Despite this staggered scoring, the Tour Championship will still count as an official victory.
"Compared to the current system, the beauty here is in the simplicity," Monahan said. "Fans are very familiar with golf leader boards in relation to par, so they will have a clear understanding of the impact every shot makes during the final run for the FedEx Cup—ultimately leading to a singular champion without conflicting storylines.”
Also of note is a new season-long race—the Wyndham Rewards Top 10—that ends at the conclusion of the regular season. The top-10 finishers in the FedEx Cup at the Wyndham Championship will see their bank accounts padded, with the leader earning $2 million, runner-up $1.5 million and 10th-place finisher getting $500,000.
“We are excited to unveil the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 next year, which will place an even greater premium on excelling over the course of the regular season,” said Andy Pazder, chief tournament and competitions officer for the PGA Tour. “Season-long success is tantamount to qualifying for and advancing through the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and this is an exciting way to reward the best of the best and provide an added layer of drama for our fans in each market and around the world.”
And sticking on the money front, the existing FedEx Cup bonus pool will increase by $25 million, to $60 million. The FedEx Cup champion will receive $15 million for his efforts, up from the $10 million prize from previous campaigns.
These changes coincide with other alterations to the schedule, including the Players moving to March and the postseason condensed from four events to three.
“Our players and fans have invested in the FedEx Cup over the past 12 seasons, and with these enhancements, we are reinvesting in the FedEx Cup in order to raise the stakes, so to speak, for their benefit,” Monahan said. “We are able to grow and diversify our fan base because we have the best athletes on the planet competing on the PGA Tour. Now is the time to make these changes, and thanks to significant input in the process by our players, partners and fans, I believe we’re making exactly the right moves."