PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA | As the PGA Tour plots its future path, one of the biggest pieces of its plan fell into place Tuesday with the announcement that the FedEx Cup has been extended through 2027.
Now in its 11th year, the FedEx Cup has evolved into a familiar season-ending run of four events capped by the Tour Championship in Atlanta with players chasing their piece of a $35 million bonus pool.
Though no details were announced other than the extension of the agreement, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan called the announcement a “historic day” for the PGA Tour.
“This is the most important piece as it relates to the moves we’re going to make,” Monahan said. “I think no matter how you look at it, there are different options and we haven’t settled on the final outcome that we’re seeking yet.”
As part of the new agreement, FedEx has committed $1 million in annual donations to benefit non-profit organizations, one part of the company’s global FedEx Cares initiative in which the shipping business will invest $200 million in 200 global communities by 2020.
“It’s the perfect endorsement for the effectiveness of the PGA Tour,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president for integrated marketing and communications for FedEx.
The basic structure of the FedEx Cup playoffs, toward which players earn points during the regular season based on their tournament finishes, is not expected to change. The current agreement awards the FedEx Cup champion $10 million out of the $35 million pool. That is likely to increase in the future.
“There’s still some other moving parts that we need to get to before we’ll be able to announce any additional change but, as we go forward, we expect the Cup and the payout to increase significantly,” Monahan said.
There has been speculation the FedEx Cup playoffs could be reduced from four events to three in the future. There are no concrete plans to change, Monahan said.
“We’re at four playoff events. That’s where we will be for the foreseeable future,” Monahan said.
There also has been discussion of restructuring the PGA Tour schedule in order to complete the FedEx Cup playoffs by Labor Day rather than later in September as the schedule currently runs. Monahan remained noncommittal on schedule changes though he indicated the Tour Championship is likely to remain at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Monahan also said there is “a good chance” the Tour will continue on the same scheduling path it now follows.
“Right now, the schedule that we play is the schedule we’re going with and will be going with for the foreseeable future,” Monahan said. “Whether or not we make any changes, we haven’t made any firm decisions.
“I think FedEx has a great deal of confidence that wherever we end up with our schedule on a long-term basis and however we create the FedEx Cup season and the playoffs, all of that will be done in a way that’s going to be in the best interest of the Cup and our players.
“I’m not saying we’re making schedule changes. I am saying that we’ve got a commitment through this agreement to significantly raise the consequence of the Cup.”