FedEx Cup Points System 2015: Explaining Distribution and Standings

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIAugust 29, 2015

Jordan Spieth reacts after making his bunker shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The 2015 FedEx Cup playoffs are underway this week at the Barclays. Entering the weekend, Bubba Watson—already third in the points standings—has the 36-hole lead and a golden opportunity to get an early jump on the rest of the competitors in the PGA Tour's postseason.

There is still a long road to travel for the majority of the world's best golfers, though, with two tournaments still to clear to get into the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship.

The man who finishes first in Atlanta has a great chance to win the grand FedEx Cup bonus of $10 million. However, a triumph in the finale doesn't outright guarantee the FedEx Cup trophy. Anyone in the top five of the reset points standings after the BMW Championship can claim the FedEx Cup with a win in the last leg.

If that sounds a tad confusing, the following tables and explanations should make matters easier to grasp. Check out how points are awarded for the Barclays—where the top 125 in FedEx Cup points were eligible to enter—the Deutsche Bank Championship (top 100) and the BMW Championship (top 70):

Point Distributions for 2015 FedEx Cup Playoff Events
PlacePointsPlacePoints
1 2,000 26 180
2 1,200 27 176
3 760 28 172
4 540 29 168
5 440 30 164
6 400 31 160
7 360 32 156
8 340 33 152
9 320 34 148
10 300 35 144
11 280 36 140
12 260 37 136
13 240 38 132
14 228 39 128
15 224 40 124
16 220 41 120
17 216 42 116
18 212 43 112
19 208 44108
20 204 45104
21 200 46100
22 196 4796
23 192 4892
24 188 4988
25 184 5084
Source: PGATour.com

Whereas regular PGA Tour events netted winners 500 FedEx Cup points, World Golf Championship events paid out 550 and majors endowed 600 to the victor, these playoff tournaments totally change the math.

Not only do golfers have to play well throughout the season to enter the playoffs in a favorable position, but they also must perform at a high level in these high-stakes events down the stretch. It's a grind and an extraordinary test.

Jordan Spieth's runner-up finish at the PGA Championship netted him the No. 1 world ranking and a piece of FedEx Cup history, per ESPN's John Buccigross:

Spieth is suddenly facing a severe setback in the postseason after opening the Barclays with rounds of 74 and 73 to miss the cut.

Because of how skewed the points become to FedEx Cup individual tournament champions, almost anyone can get hot and suddenly position themselves for a playoff run. Reigning Barclays winner Hunter Mahan explains the phenomenon well, per PGATour.com's Helen Ross:

When you do get in the Playoffs, everyone has got a legitimate chance to win. Takes one good week to propel you up the board, and you can change the...schematic of the whole thing. You can have an OK season and all of a sudden you play good at the right time and be a FedExCup champion.

But even two wins in three weeks doesn't guarantee claiming ultimate FedEx Cup glory. Rory McIlroy won the second and third legs of the postseason in 2012 before finishing tied 10th at the Tour Championship, settling for second overall to Brandt Snedeker.

Here is a glance at the redistribution of points among the eventual Tour Championship top 30:

Tour Championship FedEx Cup Points Reset
PlacePointsPlacePoints
12,00016304
21,80017288
31,60018272
41,44019256
51,28020248
61,12021240
796022232
880023224
964024216
1048025208
1138426200
1236827192
1335228184
1433629176
1532030168
Source: PGATour.com

So although the objective is to win every time one tees it up, those vying for the $10 million payout at East Lake will want to conserve their best for last. They essentially have to get into the top five through the first three events and surge to the finish.

The regular-season points still carry over to reward the golfers who played well throughout the year. So even though Spieth didn't have his best outing in the opening leg, he can still be among the leaders entering the Tour Championship with solid finishes in the next two tournaments.

McIlroy entered the postseason ninth in the FedEx Cup standings despite making just nine official starts. With him coming back and fresher than most and Spieth eager to put the Barclays behind him, the duel for the top world ranking will be one of the many intriguing subplots as the FedEx Cup is decided.

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