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FedEx Cup Playoffs 2022: Frequently Asked Questions

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Ben Jared

After a season that involved 44 tour stops, including 11 first-time winners, eight players winning multiple times and three first-time major champions, we've arrived at the finish—the FedEx Cup Playoffs. And with that, it’s time to determine a season-long champion and hand out quite a bit of dough as well.

Masters champion, World No. 1 and four-time winner Scottie Scheffler leads the way in the FedEx Cup standings with Cam Smith, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele and 2021 FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay rounding out the top five. Smith, Burns and Schauffele each won three times this year.

In 2021, Cantlay won the BMW Championship and entered the Tour Championship with the lead before he ever hit a shot at East Lake. Four days later he was hoisting the trophy and the $15-million winning prize.

For a refresher on how the playoffs work, here are answers to some questions that will help you understand what’s in store as the tour crowns its next FedEx Cup champion.

When are the FedEx Cup Playoffs played?

Here is the three tournament schedule:

FedEx St. Jude Championship, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Aug. 11-14

BMW Championship, Wilmington Country Club, Wilmington, Del., Aug. 18-21

Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Aug. 25-28

How many golfers will play in each of the three events?

The top 125 players off the FedEx Cup eligibility points list are in the field at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. That number decreases to 70 for the BMW Championship. The top 30 will then advance from Wilmington Country Club to Atlanta for the Tour Championship, the traditional conclusion of the season.

But, and there's always a but, the original field could increase to 128 players. LIV Golf players Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones are seeking an injunction that would allow them to play in the playoffs. They were suspended by the PGA Tour for participating in the LIV series and would have qualified for the playoffs had they not been suspended. The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9, two days before the first round at TPC Southwind. If they win, it's likely the field would increse to 128, rather than add them and boot the last three in the standings.

Yes, all former PGA Tour members who now play for LIV Golf were redacted from the FedEx Cup eligibility standings. Only Gooch, Swafford and Jones are opting for legal action to play.

Is that all?

Well, there's more actually. Starting in 2023 the numbers of participants in the FedEx Cup Playoffs will decrease from 125, 70 and 30 qualifying for the respective events to 70, 50 and 30. The 70 players who qualify for the first playoff event will be fully exempt for the following PGA Tour season, which will return to a calendar-based season in 2024 and will no longer have a wraparound schedule.

Remind us again: How is the actual FedEx Cup winner decided?

OK, so instead of all 30 players starting with the same score when they compete at the Tour Championship, players are now staggered by strokes based on where they stand in the FedEx Cup points list coming into East Lake. The No. 1-ranked player begins the final tournament at 10 under par, with the No. 2 player at eight under, and then seven under, six under and five under for Nos. 3-5. Nos. 6-10 start at four under; Nos. 11-15 start at three under; Nos. 16-20 start at two under; Nos. 21-25 start at one under; and Nos. 26-30 start at even par. The individual with the best score after the stroke adjustment—not merely the best 72-hole score—will be the winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

So there are no separate winners of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup anymore?

Nope … that’s why the change was made, to help eliminate the confusion of somebody winning the tournament at East Lake but not being the actual FedEx Cup champion. In fact, there is no longer a separate purse for the Tour Championship.

Were there two winners a lot?

In the first 12 years of the playoffs, it happened four times, including 2017 and 2018. Remember Tiger Woods’ win at the Tour Championship in 2018? Well, it was Justin Rose who took home the FedEx Cup. Given how frequently this was happening, PGA Tour officials decided they needed an alternative to simplify the race for the FedEx Cup title.

Does winning the Tour Championship count for a player’s victory total?

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Yes. It still counts for the PGA Tour’s records.

Who were the players in the lead at the start of this year’s playoffs?

At the end of the PGA Tour's regular season—after the Wyndham Championship—Scottie Scheffler had 3,555 points, followed by Cam Smith (2,335), Sam Burns (2,275), Xander Schauffele (2,153) and Patrick Cantlay (2,108).

Click here for a complete list of the rankings.

Do points from the regular season carry over into the playoffs?

Yes. And then any points earned in the first two FedEx Cup playoff events are added to a players' regular-season points to get their new place on the FedEx Cup points list each week.

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Dustin Johnson smiles and pumps his fist to celebrate his three-stroke FedExCup victory in 2020 at East Lake Golf Club.

Keyur Khamar

How are the points earned different in the playoffs compared to the regular season?

As you might imagine, a premium is given to players who win/play well in playoff events. If you won a regular-season PGA Tour stop, you earned 500 points. For a playoff win, you get 1,500 points. Similarly, all players earn three times the points for their performances in playoff events compared with regular-season tournaments. (Note: This was the one real change in the structure of the playoffs from back in 2019; playoff event points were worth four times as much as a regular-season event.)

Who is the defending FedEx Cup champion?

Patrick Cantlay entered the Tour Championship off a victory at the BMW Championship, where he defeated Bryson DeChambeau in a playoff. So Cantlay began the event at East Lake with a two-shot lead, which he needed in the end. He shot 67-66-67-69 and his final score was 21 under par. Jon Rahm shot 65-65-68-68 and ended with a 20-under final score. Kevin Na was third and Justin Thomas was fourth.

Rahm and Na actually shot the lowest scores of the week at 266 total, but they were too far behind Cantlay to start the week. Schauffele shot 268, which Cantlay, Thomas and Viktor Hovland each shot 269.

Who has won the most FedEx Cups?

With a win in 2019, Rory McIlroy captured his second title, having also claimed the victory in 2016. Only one other player—Tiger Woods, perhaps you’ve heard of him—has won the playoffs twice, in 2007 and 2009.

Past champions include:

2007: Tiger Woods

2008: Vijay Singh

2009: Tiger Woods

2010: Jim Furyk

2011: Bill Haas

2012: Brandt Snedeker

2013: Henrik Stenson

2014: Billy Horschel

2015: Jordan Spieth

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Tiger Woods and Mark Calcavecchia walk up the 18th hole during the final round of the TOUR Championship in 2007.

Streeter Lecka

2016: Rory McIlroy

2017: Justin Thomas

2018: Justin Rose

2019: Rory McIlroy

2020: Dustin Johnson

2021: Patrick Cantlay

How much FedEx Cup prize money will be handed out?

The short answer: A lot. Starting in 2019, the FedEx Cup winner earned $15 million from an overall prize money payout of $60 million. It was the same the last two years, but has been elevated for this year. The total payout is $75 million and the winner will take home a whopping $18 million.

Here’s the breakdown for what each player will earn at the Tour Championship:

1: $18,000,000

2: $6,500,000

3: $5,000,000

4: $4,000,000

5: $3,000,000

6: $2,500,000

7: $2,000,000

8: $1,500,000

9: $1,250,000

10: $1,000,000

11: $950,000

12: $900,000

13: $850,000

14: $800,000

15: $760,000

16: $720,000

17: $700,000

18: $680,000

19: $660,000

20: $640,000

21: $620,000

22: $600,000

23: $580,000

24: $565,000

25: $550,000

26: $540,000

27: $530,000

28: $520,000

29: $510,000

30: $500,000