FedExCup 101: A guide to the PGA Tour playoffs

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2017, 2:00 pm

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about the FedExCup Playoffs:

Playoffs?! Playoffs?! Sorry, I can't hear that word without thinking of Jim Mora.

Don't worry about it. Everyone who's ever seen the video of Mora's classic rant has the same reaction. But let's get down to business. You want to know about the FedExCup Playoffs, don't you.

Yeah. Since when does golf have playoffs?

Since 2007.

OK, why does golf have playoffs?

To make the end of the season more interesting, not to mention more lucrative. MUCH more lucrative.

Yes, I want to know about the money, but first things first. How do the playoffs work?

The last four events of the season are playoff events. In order, they are the Northern Trust, the Dell Technologies Championship, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. You have to be in the top 125 of the FedExCup points list to qualify for the Northern Trust. After the Northern Trust is played, the top 100 advance to the Dell Technologies Championship, then the top 70 advance to the BMW Championship and finally the top 30 advance to the Tour Championship. No alternates are added to fields if players are unable to compete.

Which is where the real dough is, right?

Absolutely. The winner of the FedExCup - the season-long leader in points at the end of the Tour Championship - earns a $10 million bonus. And since the winner of the Tour Championship earns $1,530,000, if he is also the FedExCup winner, which he often is, that means a total haul of $11.53 million.

Is the FedExCup bonus a winner-take-all deal?

Not at all. There are also bonuses of $3 million for second in the final point standings, $2 million for third, $1.5 milion for fourth and $1 million for fifth, and so on.

These tournaments all have corporate names. Where are they played?

The Northern Trust will be played at the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, N.Y. It's the tournament that used to be known as The Barclays. If you're really old school, it's the descendant of the old Westchester Classic. The Dell Technologies Championship is played at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., and used to be known as the Deutsche Bank Championship. The BMW Championship is played at Conway Farms GC in Lake Forest, Ill. The tournament is the descendant of the old Western Open. Finally, the Tour Championship is played at East Lake in Atlanta, formerly the home course of Bobby Jones when it was known as the Atlanta Athletic Club.

You said players become eligible for the playoffs by earning FedExCup points during the regular season. How does that work?

FedExCup points are awarded for tournaments throughout the season, on a tier system. For example: A "regular" event pays 500 points for first place, with a sliding scale of lesser points for lower finishes. A World Golf Championships event pays 550 points for first. The four majors and The Players Championship pay 600 points for first. Once the playoffs start, the point totals increase, with first place paying 2,000 points. Players will carry over their points earned through the regular season and can add to the total throughout first three playoff events. Points are then reset for the finale to ensure that everyone in the field, mathmatically, has a chance to win. The top five in points can win the overall prize just by winning the Tour Championship.

OK, enough about points. Who has won the previous FedExCups?

Tiger Woods won the inaugural FedExCup in 2007. Vijay Singh won it in 2008 and Woods won again in 2009. After that it was Jim Furyk in 2010, Bill Haas in 2011, Brandt Snedeker in 2012, Henrik Stenson in 2013, Billy Horschel in 2014, Jordan Spieth in 2015 and Rory McIlroy in 2016.                                                                                               

Good list. Who's going to win this year?

If we knew, we'd be in Las Vegas right now, not here. We can tell you that going into the last pre-playoffs event, the Wyndham Championship, the top five are Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.                                               

Well, then, let's get these playoffs started.

Jim Mora couldn’t have said it better.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.