The tinkering of the FedEx Cup Playoff system is something of an annual tradition, with the PGA Tour trying to incite end-of-the-season drama without discounting season-long excellence—and without making the whole thing mind-numbingly complicated. Enter the latest idea, which might be the most radical of all.
According to Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson, the tour is finalizing a new FedEx Cup structure in which the year-long points system will be abandoned for the Tour Championship. Instead, the FedEx Cup leader will begin the season finale at 10-under par, and the rest of the 30-man field's scores will be staggered according to their position. The report cites five sources aware of the tour's plans.
In the proposed scenario, the new seeding system would automatically award the FedEx Cup and its sizable purse to the winner of the Tour Championship, thus avoiding the curious dynamic in which one player wins the season's final tournament and another player wins the FedEx Cup. This was the case last year when Xander Schauffele won the Tour Championship, but Justin Thomas won the FedEx Cup. This previously happened in 2009, when Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship but Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup.
According to Ferguson, another part of the tour's plan would be to award a separate cash bonus to the winner of the regular season points title, which would have been Dustin Johnson this year. He has since been supplanted atop the points list by Bryson DeChambeau who claimed the first playoff event, the Northern Trust, on Monday.
Still being debated is when the regular season would end. The Wyndham Championship has been the final tournament to qualify for the playoffs, but the new FedEx Invitational, a World Golf Championship, to be played the week prior, is being discussed as the new season-ender.
The tour is already set to implement a new schedule next year in which the Players Championship returns to March, the PGA Championship moves to May, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs, cut from four to three events, will be played in August. Presumably this new points system could make those playoffs even more intriguing.