The FedEx Cup playoffs will be both richer and easier to follow beginning next season thanks to changes announced Tuesday by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
Having previously announced the playoff series will go from four events to three in the 2018-19 season, Monahan announced the finale at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta will be structured so that the points leader after the first two events will start the Tour Championship at 10-under par, giving him an advantage on the other 29 players in the field in the race for a $15 million bonus, an increase of $5 million over the current prize.
The next four players in the points race will begin the Tour Championship at 8-under par through 5-under par, respectively. The next five players will start at 4-under par, five more will start at 3 under, five more at 2 under and five more at 1 under. The last five will start at even par, meaning they would have to make up 10 shots to have a chance at winning the grand prize.
The intention is to make the FedEx Cup race easier to follow. Rather than have a 72-hole tournament and the points race going on concurrently (with the points projections constantly changing during the final round), the tournament scoreboard will tell the whole story.
The player with the lowest score will win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, ending the possibility of two different winners as happened last year when Xander Schauffele won the Tour Championship and Justin Thomas won the FedEx Cup.
“This is a significant and exciting change for the PGA Tour, our players, our partners and – most importantly – our fans,” Monahan said in the announcement.
“As soon as the Tour Championship begins, any fan – no matter if they’ve followed the PGA Tour all season or are just tuning in for the final event – can immediately understand what’s going on and what’s at stake for every single player in the field. And, of course, players will know exactly where they stand at all times while in play, which will ratchet up the drama, consequence and volatility of the competition down the stretch.
“Compared to the current system, the beauty here is in the simplicity.”
In addition, a $10 million bonus called the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 has been created to add incentive to the players who are in the top 10 in points when the regular season ends.
The points leader after the Wyndham Championship will receive a $2 million bonus while the player in second place will receive $1.5 million. Bonuses will be paid to every player in the top 10 with the golfer in 10th place receiving $500,000.
It is likely to benefit the Wyndham Championship by bringing more top players to the event in hopes of improving their points position or maintaining their spot in the top 10.
“Season-long success is tantamount to qualifying for and advancing through the FedEx Cup playoffs, and this is an exciting way to reward the best of the best and provide an added layer of drama for our fans in each market and around the world,” said Andy Pazder, chief tournament and competitions officer for the PGA Tour.