Pro Golf Weekly

Handicap Strokes, Huge Payouts Highlight PGA Tour’s FedExCup Overhaul

The long rumored overhaul to the FedExCup became reality today, as the PGA Tour announced changes to its points system and playoff format, while also introducing a $10 million regular season points pool.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks at an announcement for the new WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational during an event at Shelby Farms Park on April 12, 2018 in Memphis, TN. Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

As reported earlier, the PGA Tour regular season will be compressed, including the FedExCup Playoffs which will be reduced to three events, and conclude before Labor Day.

As has been the case, the top 125 players following the Wyndham Championship will qualify for THE NORTHERN TRUST – the opening leg of the playoffs, with the top 70 moving on to the BMW Championship, and the top 30 making the field at East Lake for the TOUR Championship where the FedExCup Champion will be crowned.

While the points structure for the first two legs will remain the same (quadruple points awarded), the Tour Championship will use what the PGA Tour is calling a “strokes-based bonus system” (translation: handicap strokes for the leaders). The FedExCup points leader following the first two playoff events will begin the Tour Championship at 10-under par before he hits a shot. The next four players will start at 8-under through 5-under, respectively, and so on, with those ranked Nos. 26-30 teeing off in round one at even par, 10 shots off the pace.

The player with the lowest total score, including the head-start strokes, will be crowned both the FedExCup Champion and Tour Championship winner.

“This is a significant and exciting change for the PGA Tour, our players, our partners and – most importantly – our fans,” said Jay Monahan, PGA Tour Commissioner.

“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.

“Compared to the current system, the beauty here is in the simplicity. Fans are very familiar with golf leaderboards in relation to par, so they will have a clear understanding of the impact every shot makes during the final run for the FedExCup – ultimately leading to a singular champion without conflicting storylines.”

Meanwhile, as if the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy need more money, the Tour announced a race within a race with the new $10 million Wyndham Rewards Top 10 which will reward the top 10 finishers in the FedExCup regular season points race with huge bonus payouts. To entice more of the star players to tee it up at the season-ending Wyndham Championship, the FedExCup points leader will earn $2 million, followed by $1.5 million for the runner-up with the 10th-place finisher earning $500,000.

In addition to the $10 million Wyndham Rewards Top 10, the existing FedExCup bonus pool will increase by a whopping $25 million, to $60 million. The FedExCup Champion will receive $15 million, up from the current $10 million prize. Overall the bonus payouts up for grabs, beyond the tournament purses, will be $70 million.

“Our players and fans have invested in the FedExCup over the past 12 seasons, and with these enhancements, we are reinvesting in the FedExCup in order to raise the stakes, so to speak, for their benefit,” continued Monahan, who reportedly makes north of $10m annually as the PGA Tour Commissioner.

“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.”

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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