This will be the 15th year of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, long enough that a generation of tour pros have no memory of a PGA Tour season that didn’t end with this postseason dash. Traditions take time to develop, but the playoffs are starting to accumulate that time. And they’re also accumulating a lot of interesting statistics along the way. We’ve culled some of the most notable numbers to help flesh out the history of the playoffs and offer a glimpse at what to expect over the course of the next three weeks.
Money that Rory McIlroy has earned, in tournament prize payouts and FedEx Cup bonuses, in his career. McIlroy ranks No. 1 among all FedEx Cup money earners, having passed Tiger Woods two years ago when the Northern Irishman won his second career FedEx Cup title and the $15 million payday.
Rory McIlroy celebrates after winning the 2019 Tour Championship, his fifth career FedEx Cup Playoff event title.
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Tour pros who have qualified for the FedEx Cup Playoffs all 15 years. Here’s the list with their FedEx Cup rank for 2021 in parenthesis:
Charley Hoffman (32)
Phil Mickelson (58)
Bubba Watson (71)
Adam Scott (82)
Brandt Snedeker (100)
Matt Kuchar (120)
Adam Scott maintained his perfect attendance in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, quailfying for 14th straight year.
US PGA TOUR
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Tour pros who have finished inside the top 75 of the FedEx Cup in all previous 14 seasons. Phil Mickelson is the entire list. Lefty ranks 67th entering this week’s Northern Trust, so if he makes the cut at Liberty National, he’ll lock up a 14th straight season inside the top 75. Mickelson's best overall FedEx Cup finish is second in 2009.
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Farthest back any tour pro has been on the FedEx Cup points list to start the playoffs only to win the title. Billy Horschel began well down the standings in 2014, and fell to 82nd after missing the cut in the first playoff event. He then went T-2/win/win to close out the postseason and become the longest longshot champion in FedEx Cup history. In 13 years, only three times has a player outside the top 15 on the points list entering the Playoffs gone on to win (Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, 19th in 2012; and Rory McIlroy, 36th in 2016).
No FedEx Cup Playoff winner came from farther back in the standings to take the title than Billy Horschel in 2014.
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Biggest jump any tour pro has made in the FedEx Cup standings during the playoffs. Heath Slocum started 124th on the points list in 2009, then won the first playoff event, which jumped him to third. He eventually finished eighth. Four other players have made jumps of 80 places or more: Tim Herron, 80, 2008; Martin Laird, 84, 2010; Morgan Hoffmann, 98, 2014; Sean O’Hair, 81, 2016.
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Number of times Camilo Villegas “played” his way into the next FedEx Cup tournament (starting outside a point total to qualify for the next event and then playing well enough to finish inside). This is the most of any tour pro in FedEx Cup history. Three other players have done it four times (Marc Leishman, Andres Romero and Ernie Els).
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No. 1 seeds entering the Tour Championship who went on to win the FedEx Cup title.
No. 1 seeds entering the Tour Championship who went on to win the Tour Championship since 2010. Dustin Johnson became the first to do it in more than a decade, aided in part by the new staggered start structure that put DJ at 10 under par before hitting a shot at East Lake. Prior to Johnson, the feat was only accomplished in the first three years of the playoffs, Tiger Woods doing it in 2007 and 2009, and Vijay Singh in 2008.
Tiger Woods stood out from the crowd at the 2009 Tour Championship en route to that year's FedEx Cup title.
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Most seasons any one golfer has advanced to the Tour Championship. Dustin Johnson has played at East Lake each of the last 12 years, and at No. 17 on the FedEx Cup points lists entering the 2021 playoffs, he looks likely to make it 13 straight in a few weeks.
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Number of wins in FedEx Cup Playoff events for Dustin Johnson, the most of any golfer after winning last year’s Northern Trust and Tour Championship. Rory McIlroy was the previous record holder with five, with Tiger Woods two back at four career Playoff wins.
Dustin Johnson celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2020 Tour Championship, his sixth career FedEx Cup playoff win.
Kevin C. Cox
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Tour pros who have finished in the top 10 in every playoff event in a single season.
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Tour pros who have finished in the top 10 in every playoff event in a single season and won the FedEx Cup title. DJ once again made history with his Playoff run in 2020. A win at the Northern Trust, followed by a playoff loss at the BMW, then a win at the Tour Championship allowed him to break the off statistical anomaly of no player with top-10s in all Playoff events actually winning the FedEx Cup.
Here’s the list of those who had the top-10s:
Rory Sabbatini, 2007
Padraig Harrington, 2009
Dustin Johnson, 2012
Henrik Stenson, 2015
Adam Scott, 2016
Jon Rahm, 2017
Justin Rose, 2017
Jordan Spieth, 2017
Adam Scott, 2019
Dustin Johnson, 2020
Jon Rahm, 2020
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Strokes under par Dustin Johnson has been throughout his FedEx Cup Playoff career, the lowest of any golfer. Jason Day is second lowest (228 under par), followed by Jim Furyk (223 under par) and Tiger Woods at 220 under par.
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PGA Tour rookies who have played their way into Tour Championship since 2007. None were added to this year’s playoffs. Sungjae Im was the only one to do it in 2019. The best FedEx Cup finish from a rookie was Xander Schauffele, who was third in the final standings in 2017 after winning the Tour Championship.
Xander Schauffele smiles after his one-stroke victory at the 2017 Tour Championship, which left the then PGA Tour rookie in third place for the FedEx Cup title.
Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour
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The number of times a player outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup points list at the start of the playoffs has moved into the top 30 and qualified for the Tour Championship. Two golfers did this in 2020:
Kevin Kisner (40)
Mackenzie Hughes (52)