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We’re getting to the business end the FedEx Cup, but how does it all work?

Talk of cut-offs, no cut events and the scoring system in the Tour Championship can be slightly confusing, but we’ve broken it down to make it easier to digest. Here’s all the details you need to know.

What are the FedEx Cup playoffs?

The FedEx Cup playoffs are the end of season events on the PGA Tour. This year, they consist of the FedEx St Jude Championship, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. 

For PGA Tour players, they mark a chance to turnaround their season, such is the money and ranking points on offer. Come the conclusion of the Tour Championship, the top player in the rankings will be $18m better off. 

Why does the size of the field change?

After each event, players who don’t make a certain rank won’t be eligible for the following week. Players ranked in the top-125 of the FedEx Cup made it into the FedEx St Jude Classic, the top-70 make it to the BMW Championship, and the top-30 make it to the Tour Championship. Both the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship are 72-hole events, but don’t feature a halfway cut.

How much do FedEx Cup playoff winners make?

A lot. The FedEx St Jude champion pockets $2.7m, the same as the winner of the BMW Championship. Compare that to the $2.5m that Cam Smith won at St Andrews this year, and it’s clear there’s a lot of cash at stake.

Fed Ex Cup Trophy

How does the Tour Championship work?

It might seem confusing, but in reality, it’s actually fairly straightforward. The Tour Championship operates on what is essentially a staggered start. The player who is leading the standings after the BMW Championship will start with an advantage over his competitors on Thursday morning. Here’s the scoring system in full, based on where players are ranked following the penultimate event of the year:

1st – 10-under-par

2nd – 8-under-par

3rd – 7-under-par

4th – 6-under-par

5th – 5-under-par

6th-tenth – 4-under-par

11th-15th – 3-under-par

16th-20th – 2-under-par

21st-25th – 1-under-par

26th-30th – even-par

The player who finishes on the lowest nett score after this event will take home the FedEx Cup, and the $18m that goes along with it.

How does the scoring system work before the Tour Championship?

All the other playoff events start on an even playing field, however, the points on offer are far more than regular events. For the winner of the BMW Championship and the FedEx St Jude Championship, 2,000 points are on offer. For a regular season event winner, there’s just 500 points. So, essentially, winning one playoff event gets you the same amount of points as winning one regular season PGA Tour event.

What happens to those who don’t make the Tour Championship?

This depends on where they are ranked, and how many events of the playoffs they make it through. For those who don’t make the top-125, it’s most likely a trip to the Korn Ferry Tour finals, where they can regain their PGA Tour status. However, those who make the top-125 but don’t make the Tour Championship secure their playing rights for next year.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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