This week, the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin at The Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. So, how did we get here? Since the beginning of the FedEx Cup, even amongst the most passionate of golf fans, there's been confusion around how the season-long race works, and how a player can ultimately win the top prize at the Tour Championship. Hopefully, we can answer some of those questions for you.
What is the FedEx Cup?
The FedEx Cup is a trophy awarded to the player who ends the season in first place of the FedEx Cup standings.
What are the FedEx Cup Playoffs?
The FedEx Cup Playoffs are a series of four $9 million tournaments that are played at the end of the PGA Tour season and determine the season-long champion. The 2017-'18 schedule is as follows:
Aug. 23-26 — The Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.
Aug. 31-Sept. 3 (Labor Day Monday) — Dell Technologies Championship, TPC Boston, Norton, Mass.
Sept. 6-9 — BMW Championship, Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Pa.
Sept. 20-23 — Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta
How much does the winner of each event take in?
First-place prize money four each of the four playoff events is $1,620,000.
What are the FedEx Cup standings?
Throughout the PGA Tour season, players earn FedEx Cup points based on their results in tournaments. The points determine where you are in the standings, and if you accumulate enough, you can qualify for the playoffs.
How do you qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs?
Players who finish in the top 125 (plus ties) of the FedEx Cup standings at the end of the PGA Tour regular season, which wrapped up Sunday at the Wyndham Championship, qualify for the playoffs.
How long has the FedEx Cup existed?
The FedEx Cup began in 2007.
When does the PGA Tour season begin and end?
The PGA Tour season is a total of 44 events, beginning with the 2017 Safeway Open last October and ending with the 2018 Wyndham Championship. These events include all four majors and the four World Golf Championships.
Do the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings at season's end qualify for all four playoff events?
No, the top 125 only qualify for The Northern Trust, the first leg of the playoffs. From there, the top 100 players in the standings at the end of The Northern Trust qualify for the Dell Technologies Championship. The top 70 at the end of the Dell Technologies Championship qualify for the BMW Championship, and then the top 30 at the end of the BMW advance to the Tour Championship.
What is the points breakdown for the FedEx Cup?
FedEx Cup points are awarded at four levels, and they place a premium on victories and high finishes. A PGA Tour victory is worth 500 FedEx Cup points, while the four majors and the Players Championship award 600 points to their champions. For the four World Golf Championships, winners are awarded 550 points, and additional PGA Tour events played the same week as a major or WGC award 300 points to the winner.
How are the rest of the points distributed?
For a full look at how FedEx Cup points are distributed throughout the season, visit this page on PGATour.com.
Do the points reset for the FedEx Cup Playoffs?
Players carry whatever points they made during the season into the first three playoff events. At the Tour Championship, points reset for the final 30 players, and all have a chance to win the FedEx Cup. For a look at how the points are reset at the Tour Championship, visit this page on PGATour.com.
Are point distributions different during the FedEx Cup Playoffs?
Yes, the FedEx Cup points quadruple at the playoff events.
Can players skip a Playoff event and still qualify for the next one?
Yes, it is possible for a player to have accumulated enough points during the season to be able to skip a playoff event and still qualify for the next event. In this case, there are no alternate positions and the field will be shortened and points from the missing positions are not distributed.
Who has won the FedEx Cup?
The winners of the FedEx Cup since its inception in 2007 are as follows:
Tiger Woods (2007, 2009)
Vijay Singh (2008)
Jim Furyk (2010)
Bill Haas (2011)
Brandt Snedeker (2012)
Henrik Stenson (2013)
Billy Horschel (2014)
Jordan Spieth (2015)
Rory McIlroy (2016)
Justin Thomas (2017)
Does the FedEx Cup champion win anything besides the first-place prize money and trophy after the Tour Championship?
Yes, in addition to the trophy and the prize money, the overall FedEx Cup champion receives a bonus of $10 million and a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour. Bonuses are also awarded to the remaining players in the top 30 that qualified for the Tour Championship, including $3 million to second place, $2 million to third place, $1.5 million to fourth place and $1 million to fifth. A total of $35 million is given out in bonus money. To see what the rest of the top 30 makes, visit this page on PGATour.com.
Do players who qualify for the top 125 receive any exemptions for the following season?
Starting in 2013, players who qualify for the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs retain their playing privileges, also known as "tour card," for the following season on the PGA Tour. Prior to 2013, this was determined by a player's position on the money list.
What about players finishing outside the top 125?
Players who finish between 126th and 150th in the FedEx Cup standings receive conditional status on the PGA Tour, which they can improve by performing well in the Web.com Tour Finals, its own series of tournaments played in September.
Who is leading the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Playoffs? Top-10?
Dustin Johnson is leading the FedEx Cup race heading into the Northern Trust with a total of 2,717 points. The rest of the top 10 is as follows:
Justin Thomas, 2,634
Brooks Koepka, 2,012
Justin Rose, 1,991
Bubba Watson, 1,879 Jason Day, 1,771
Webb Simpson, 1,710
Francesco Molinari, 1,682
Bryson DeChambeau, 1,617 Patrick Reed, 1,555