FedExCup 101: A guide to the PGA Tour playoffs


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.