FedEx Cup Playoffs: $67 Million Up for Grabs

Fred AltvaterContributor IIAugust 20, 2012

Tiger Woods won the first FedEx Cup in 2007
Tiger Woods won the first FedEx Cup in 2007S.Greenwood/Getty Images

The first FedEx Cup was won by, you know who, Tiger Woods in 2007. No one has ever won back-to-back FedEx Cup titles, and he is the only player to win it more than once.

Vijay Singh won it in 2008 and Tiger won his second FedEx Cup in 2009 right before his unfortunate incident with a fire hydrant. Jim Furyk holed a putt in the rain on the last hole for his win in 2010. In 2011 Bill Haas had to make an up and down from the lake to beat Luke Donald and earn the $10 million.

The FedEx Cup was designed by the PGA Tour to award consistent play throughout the year. It also helps to assure that valuable PGA Tour talent keeps playing at home rather than roaming the world searching for guaranteed money. 

PGA Tour players qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs by earning points at every PGA Tour sanctioned event throughout the year. With three wins in 2012, Woods is leading the rankings heading into the playoffs. Rory McIlroy, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson have also had excellent years and are close behind.

The four events that make up the FedEx Cup series are the Barclays, played at Bethpage Park in New York; the Deutsche Bank at TPC Boston; the BMW Championship, which will be played at Crooked Stick near Indianapolis this year; and the Tour Championship, played at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta.

The top 125 players on the FedEx Cup rankings list qualify for the Barclays. The field will be cut to the top 100 for the Deutsche Bank the following week, and only 70 will be eligible to play in the BMW Championship.

Each event in the playoffs has a total purse of $8 million with approximately $1.4 million going to each winner. All of the players who make the playoffs will earn a paycheck, but there will be 36-hole cuts at the first two events.

The playoff series takes a week respite between the BMW and the Tour Championship. Only the top 30 players will make it into the field for the Tour Championship and play for the FedEx Cup and the $10 million.

The $10 million winners check is paid from the $35 million FedEx bonus pool. Once the final FedEx Cup rankings are established after the Tour Championship, every player ranked No. 1 to 150 will receive a bonus check. For example, second place will receive $3 million, $2 million for third and it continues decrease with Nos. 126 to 150 receiving $32,000.

With $32.0 million in prize money for the four playoff events plus a $35.0 million bonus pool, there is no recession on the PGA Tour.

The FedEx Cup winner also receives a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour. 

Next year the FedEx Cup will determine the top 125 players that will earn PGA Tour cards for 2014.  Any players outside the top 125 will have a second chance to earn a PGA Tour card via the Fall Series.  The Fall Series events will start the 2014 season and award FedEx Cup points.

Players not earning their Tour Cards by the end of 2013 will be forced to play the Tour to earn their cards for 2015. There will be no PGA Tour Q-School after 2012.

There is a lot to play for in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Professionals play the game for money, and there is a lot of cash on the line over the next five weeks.