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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.