Unless you are a golfing tragic like me, you probably don’t understand the FedEx Cup and how it works. To be honest, even I had to do some research to truly appreciate what it is all about. It is one of those things that seems complicated to start with but is actually quite easy to grasp once you look into it so bear with me while I try to explain.
In 2007, the PGA Tour entered a new era with its first-ever playoff system. What this means is that over the course of the year, players earn points for their results in PGA tournaments from the beginning of January at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii through mid-August at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. This consists of 36 events over 33 weeks. I won’t break down the whole points structure but needless to say the better you do, the more points you accrue. It is also very top heavy to reward those who win or go very close to winning tournaments.
Now it gets a little tricky so I will take an excerpt from the PGA Tour website and an article called Fed Ex Cup 101.
“Once the PGA Tour season concludes with the Wyndham Championship, the top 125 players on the points chart advance to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, a series of four $8 million tournaments offering quintuple points relative to normal PGA Tour season events. The playoffs feature a progressive cut, beginning with The Barclays in New York (125 players), continuing with the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston (100 players) and the BMW Championship in Chicago (70 players). A reset then takes place, seeding the top 30 players for the culminating Tour Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, where the FedEx Cup champion is crowned.”
In short, the aim of every golfer is to first make the list for the top 125 point earners and then keep earning enough points to make the cut during the final four weeks. The points on offer in these last four tournaments are dramatically increased (from an average of 500 in the regular season to 2,500 in the playoffs). This means that all the 125 players who make the initial cut can progress to the next round with a good result. What you get during this time is a competition within a competition.
In the Tour Championship, when they are down to the final 30, the broadcast will keep on crossing to a guy with a whiteboard who analyses what needs to happen for certain golfers to win the title. This makes for enthralling golf because not only is there interest in the tournament there are players thinking about points as well. So no matter how far back you fall, every golfer is playing it out for every one of the 72 holes.
In 2013, the four playoffs events will offer US$32 million in prize money. The FedEx Cup winner will walk away with a cool US$10 million. No wonder they take it seriously!
I hope that this has made things a little clearer but even if it has, good luck finding a winner.