The FedEx Cup is a bit complicated, but it gets simplified this week as the field is cut to 30
The final PGA Tour event of the 2016-17 season is here, and there is a lot of money on the line. Thirty players will play the Tour Championship this weekend at East Lake, and just under $34 million is at stake between the Tour Championship purse and FedEx Cup bonus money.
Jordan Spieth is the favorite to win this week (it would be his second in three years), but he’ll have loads of competition. One of the quirky nuances to the Tour Championship is that the FedEx Cup points players have been earning since last fall get reset this week.
The reason for this is to create a little bit of drama in case one or two players are way out in front. The PGA Tour wants everyone to have a mathematical chance of winning the FedEx Cup if they win the Tour Championship, thus the reset. Their points earned at the Tour Championship are then added to the reset points to determine a FedEx Cup winner.
Here’s how we stand right now.
2017 FedEx Cup Standings
|RANKING||PLAYER||RESET FEDEX CUP POINTS|
So you can see the player in 30th (Jason Dufner) has to win the Tour Championship and basically have the field finish in the opposite order of its ranking (i.e. Spieth in 30th, Thomas in 29th, etc.) for him to win the FedEx Cup. Let’s say Dufner won this week. He would finish with 2,115 FedEx Cup points. If Spieth finished even 29th, he would surpass Dufner with 2,118 points.
The margin is thin for players at the bottom. It’s not that they can’t win, it’s just that it’s incredibly unlikely. The top five are guaranteed a FedEx Cup win if they win the Tour Championship. The players just outside of that have a great chance of taking home the $10 million first prize by winning the Tour Championship as well. Take Rickie Fowler, for example. All he has to do to win the FedEx Cup is win the Tour Championship and have Jordan Spieth finish third or worse. Fowler would finish with 3,120 points, and Spieth would finish with 2,760 with a third-place finish.
Over $25 million in bonus prize money is distributed for the FedEx Cup after the dust settles this weekend (and this doesn’t include the $8.8 million purse for the Tour Championship!). All told, $35 million of FedEx Cup money is distributed to players who make the FedEx Cup playoffs. Those who got cut in previous weeks receive a little bit of the $35 million pot, and even those who finished Nos. 125-150 in the standings receiving $32,000 each. Here are distributions for the final 30.
2017 FedEx Cup payouts
|PLACE||FEDEX CUP PAYOUTS|
There is a lot at stake this week at the Tour Championship. The winner of the tournament walks away $11.5 million richer if he also wins the FedEx Cup. Interestingly, eight of the 10 champions of this event (including Rory McIlroy this year) did not make it back to East Lake to defend, and only Tiger Woods has ever won the FedEx Cup twice (something Spieth could accomplish this week).
Past FedEx Cup Champions
- 2016: Rory McIlroy
- 2015: Jordan Spieth
- 2014: Billy Horschel
- 2013: Henrik Stenson
- 2012: Brandt Snedeker
- 2011: Bill Haas
- 2010: Jim Furyk
- 2009: Tiger Woods
- 2008: Vijay Singh
- 2007: Tiger Woods
We should be in for a tremendous week of golf in Atlanta. All of the playoff events have been strong so far, but throw in the juice of $34 million and you start to ratchet up the intensity from 30 of the best players on the planet.