For years the PGA Tour had struggled holding the viewers’ interest and attention as the season wound down. The major championships were behind them and many players were taking events off to rest after the grind of a full season. With the exception of the Tour Championship no other event would generate the fields that drove PGA Tour gate attendance and television ratings. How could the tour fix such a challenging problem? The PGA Tour brain trust got together and came up with a unique idea. If other sports can have playoffs why not the PGA tour? With that simple thought in mind the FedExCup Playoffs were born. Since their inception the FedExCup has seen five individual winners; Brandt Snedeker (2012), Bill Haas (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Tiger Woods (2007 and 2009) and Vijay Singh (2008).
The Tour debuted the FedExCup concept in 2007 with a simple idea which was to add drama to the PGA Tour and relevancy to the final events of the season. The players would all start even at the beginning of the season. As the season progressed the players would gather points based on finishing position in given events. Those points would be cumulative for the duration of the season thru the Wyndham Championship. At that point the top-125 players in the FedExCup standings would qualify for the season ending playoffs. The playoffs would consist of four tournaments ending with the Tour Championship.
The point values once in the playoffs are quintupled making larger jumps possible in this exciting format. During the playoffs the field size would be cut down until only the top-30 remain for the Tour Championship. 125 would start in The Barclays with the top-100 advancing to the Deutsche Bank Championship. The field is then reduced in size to 70 players for the BMW Championship and culminates with only the top-30 qualifying for the Tour Championship.
Once the field is set for the Tour Championship the points are reset using a weighted point system. By doing this the PGA Tour has ensured that all 30 players in the Tour Championship field can win the FedExCup title. The prize pool for the FedExCup Playoffs is an incredible $35 million with the champion taking home a check for $10 million.
The FedExCup prize pool does not replace the purse available in each event but rather is in addition to those prize pools. As an example Jim Furyk played an incredible up and down from the greenside bunker to win the 2010 FedExCup and took home $1.35 million for winning the Tour Championship and $10 million for winning the FedExCup. That meant that Furyk had a three foot putt for $11.35 million. That pressure and drama is exactly what the tour wanted.
The FedExCup points list has also replaced the money list as the deciding factor in keeping a tour card. In fact the qualification criteria was stood on its head this season. Now the top-125 in FedExCup points keep their tour cards, the top-25 on the Web.com money list earn their cards and then it gets fun. Players ranked 126-200 on the PGA Tour are eligible for the Web.com Tour Finals which includes the top-75 ranked players on the Web.com Tour. That 150 player total compete for PGA Tour status with only the top-25 making the grade. The PGA Tour wanted drama and they sure found it.
In only six years there have been many spectacular moments from Furyk’s up and down in the rain to win in 2010 to Bill Haas playing out of the water hazard in sudden death to win the FedExCup in 2011. Will this season’s playoff bring more memorable moments? We are close to finding out. This year’s edition of the FedExCup Playoffs begins this Thursday with The Barclays at Liberty National in Jersey City New Jersey.
Will Tiger Woods win his third FedExCup this season? Will players like Brandt Snedeker or Bill Haas win their second FedExCup title? Will a young upstart like Billy Horschel or Jordan Spieth continue their ascension to the top of the game and win their first FedExCup title? What is certain is that there are 125 players teeing it up this week at The Barclays who all believe that they can win the FedExCup and the cool $10 million that comes with being the FedExCup champion. As a fan it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy.
Below are the 2013 FedExCup points standings entering the first playoff event, The Barclays.
|27||Charles Howell III||0||996|
|51||Brendon de Jonge||0||769|
|84||Richard H. Lee||0||565|
|90||Bo Van Pelt||0||542|
|96||Ted Potter, Jr.||0||518|