The FedEx Cup playoffs start this week with the primary of 4 tournaments that can crown a season-long PGA Tour champion. Do not confuse that with the participant who received essentially the most tournaments, majors or cash. Or who’s finally voted PGA Tour participant of the yr.
The playoff system, which started in 2007 and pays out a $10 million bonus to the winner, has been tweaked just a few occasions in its 12-year historical past with the thought of attempting to steadiness a system that rewards those that have had a robust yr with those that get scorching in the course of the last 4 occasions.
Here is a take a look at what’s forward:
The playoffs start this week with the Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, adopted by the Dell Technologies Championship on the TPC Boston and then the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club exterior of Philadelphia.
The high 125 within the FedEx Cup standings by means of Sunday’s Wyndham Championship make the Northern Trust subject. From there, it’s whittled all the way down to the highest 100 on the Dell and the highest 70 on the BMW. After the BMW, there may be an off week previous to the Tour Championship, which is reserved for the highest 30. Mathematically, any participant who qualifies for the Tour Championship has an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup.
Starting this week, factors are quadrupled from regular-season occasions, a system that went into impact in 2015. So the winner will obtain 2,000 factors as a substitute of the 500 paid out at common occasions. Second place will get 1,200 factors as a substitute of 300. The concept is to create some volatility and motion. So a victory in a FedEx Cup playoff occasion is weighted extra closely than successful a serious championship (600 factors) or a World Golf Championship occasion (550). In truth, the winner this week will get extra factors (2,000) than Brooks Koepka received for successful each the U.S. Open and PGA Championship mixed (1,200). After the BMW Championship, the highest 30 advance to East Lake in Atlanta, the place the factors are reset, permitting everybody within the subject an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup.
Rickie Fowler has an indirect damage and Rory McIlroy merely wants a while to kind by means of the varied points in his recreation that left him pissed off following a 50th-place end on the PGA Championship.
At 17th within the factors, Fowler will simply qualify for the following two playoff occasions. So will McIlroy, who’s 21st. Henrik Stenson and Bud Cauley additionally withdrew. The solely different participant eligible and not entered is Patrick Rodgers at No. 93. He might need to sweat out getting handed, however it’s unlikely there will probably be eight gamers to displace him. He is getting married and skipping the event.
What about Tiger?
For the primary time in 5 years, Woods has certified for the playoffs. He has not performed a single playoff occasion since ending tied for 22nd on the 2013 Tour Championship and ended up second within the FedEx Cup standings to Henrik Stenson. That yr, he entered the playoffs ranked No. 1 within the standings after successful 5 occasions and completed tied for second on the first playoff occasion, which was then known as The Barclays.
That was the event the place Woods fell to the bottom on the again 9 of the ultimate spherical, in ache with again bother. It was the primary signal that one thing was amiss however hardly a sign of what was to return over the following 5 years.
Now he is again within the playoffs and 20th within the FedEx Cup standings. It got here as considerably of a shock that Woods dedicated to the primary three playoff occasions, particularly after giving himself some respiratory room with his second-place end on the PGA Championship. Woods might have skipped this week or subsequent week and nonetheless certified for the Tour Championship, which takes the highest 30. Given that he sometimes doesn’t withdraw from occasions except there are extenuating circumstances, Woods seems set to play three straight weeks for the primary time she he performed the WGC-Match Play, Honda Classic and WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2013.
It will probably be attention-grabbing to see how a lot effort Woods places into the playoffs. If he performs all 4 occasions, that will probably be 18 tournaments — essentially the most he has performed since competing 20 occasions worldwide in 2012. That is the one time going again to 2005 that Woods performed greater than 18 occasions. And since he’s a digital lock to play on the U.S. Ryder Cup workforce, he faces the potential of 5 tournaments (there may be an off week previous to the Tour Championship) within the subsequent six weeks.
At stake for Tiger
Mostly delight — and extra possibilities to win a event. It is tough to consider that Woods is anxious about successful the general FedEx Cup, however taking part in these tournaments provides him extra possibilities to win. And if he makes it to the Tour Championship, meaning he’s exempt for subsequent yr’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (he would have obtained a particular exemption had he not certified), in addition to the WGC-Mexico Championship. And if he is considering going to China in November, it could make him eligible for the WGC-HSBC Champions — as would being within the high 50 on this planet. He is presently 26th.
Where is Jordan?
Since taking part in his first full yr as a professional in 2013, Jordan Spieth has made the Tour Championship yearly, received the FedEx Cup in 2015 and completed exterior the highest 10 within the last standings simply as soon as. This yr, Spieth has work to do after a lackluster season — by his requirements — that has seen him fail to win.
Spieth is 43rd within the FedEx standings, removed from a lock to make it to the ultimate event at East Lake.
But to present you an concept of how loopy, and controversial, the playoffs could be, Spieth in 2015 missed the minimize at every of the primary two playoff occasions after having entered No. 1 in factors. He then completed tied for 13th on the BMW Championship and received the Tour Championship — and the FedEx Cup.
Among the components holding Spieth again this yr? He is 144th in strokes gained, placing. Two years in the past, he was second in that class.
Bye-bye Boston (in odd-numbered years)
Next week’s Dell Technologies occasion at TPC Boston would be the last one in a four-tournament playoff sequence. Next yr, the playoff format has simply three occasions, with Boston and New York space venues alternating as the location for the primary playoff occasion. With that’s anticipated to return some kind of alteration to the playoff format in addition to a rise within the bonus pool together with the $10 million that goes to the winner. Next yr, the Northern Trust will probably be performed at Liberty National exterior of New York. In 2020, it heads again to TPC Boston.
Those who didn’t make the U.S. workforce mechanically final week nonetheless have a chance to make an impression on captain Jim Furyk. He will make three at-large alternatives in two weeks following the Dell Technologies, and then a last decide per week later. If you consider that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are set as two of the picks, then solely two stay. Bryson DeChambeau, who completed ninth within the factors, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Zach Johnson typically an attention-grabbing mixture of youth and expertise. Brandt Snedeker simply received on the Wyndham. If he will get scorching within the playoffs, does he warrant a decide?
On the European aspect, the factors race ends in two weeks, following the European Tour occasion in Denmark. Thorborn Olesen moved into an automated qualifying spot after his fourth-place end in Sweden, an enormous assist to captain Thomas Bjorn — who has made it clear he prefers to not use a decide on his fellow Dane in order to not present favoritism.
Ian Poulter is now on the bubble, however it’s onerous to think about the Englishman not getting a decide. And he has a aim of creating it to the Tour Championship for the primary time, so he has loads of alternatives to shine. Will Sergio Garcia get a decide? The longtime Ryder Cup star did not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Moving in and out
Only two gamers moved into the highest 125 final week. Nick Taylor jumped from 129 to 119 and Harris English went type 132 to 124. Martin Piller and Tyron Van Aswegen dropped out.
And then there have been 10
There are 10 gamers who’ve certified for every of the 12 FedEx Cup playoffs courting to the primary one in 2007: Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman and Charles Howell III.
Missing this yr for the primary time are Sergio Garcia, Bill Haas and Luke Donald.