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SportsSeptember 17, 2015

Golf: A Complete Golf Idiot’s Guide to the FedEx Cup


With the BMW Championship teeing off on Friday morning NZ time, we are only two tournaments away from finding the PGA Tour Champion for 2015. That person wins the FedEx Cup. The what? Calum Henderson finds out.

What is the FedEx Cup?

The FedEx Cup is the PGA Tour’s Championship trophy. It will be awarded to the golfer with the most FedEx Cup points after the Tour’s final event, the Tour Championship by Coca Cola, on the 27th of September.

How do FedEx Cup points work?

Golfers earn points throughout the PGA Tour season, which began last October when Sangmoon Bae won the Open and bagged himself a cool 500 points. Throughout the year most tournaments on the Tour carry a 500 point jackpot – a little bit more for the majors, a little bit less for minor tournaments like the (very cool sounding) Barracuda Championship.

Points are awarded on a sliding scale, so second place gets 300, third place 190 – all the way down to 85th place, which is good for a full 0.7 points.

From October to August everyone plays a ridiculous amount of golf. Mostly they just care about trying to win events and pocket as much prize money as they can, but their FedEx Cup points are ticking away in the background the whole time.

What happens in the playoffs?

Things start to get exciting in August when the top 125 golfers on the FedEx Cup points table qualify for the Barclays Tournament, the first of four PGA Tour playoff events. Here the stakes are raised so a win is now worth a colossal 2000 points.

Only the top 100 players after the Barclays qualify for the next round, the Deustche Bank Open, and after that only the top 70 go through to the BMW Championship. The final event, the Tour Championship by Coca Cola, is open to only the top 30 after the BMW Championship.

Where are we up to?

The BMW Championship, the third of four playoff events, starts Friday morning NZ time. Last week child prodigy Rickie Fowler won the Deustche Bank Championship by a stroke over the big Swede Henrik Stenson to put him right in contention.

Who’s going to win?

Like the final rounds of a good TV game show, the playoffs are designed so that as many players as possible still have an active chance of winning – last year’s champ Billy Horschel was sitting in 82nd heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship before a tie for 2nd and wins in the BMW and Tour Championships saw him romp home with the title.

Going into the BMW Championship this year the table is headed by Australian Jason Day, who won this year’s PGA Championship (one of the majors, not to be confused with the PGA TOUR Championship). Day has 4,680 points, putting him at a by no means safe distance from this year’s Masters and US Open winner Jordan Spieth on 4,169. These two are the huge favourites. Rickie Fowler rounds out the top three with 3,498 after his Deutsche Bank heroics.

Kiwi hero Danny Lee sits back in 14th, meaning he is almost definitely going through to next week’s Championship event. If he does a Billy Horschel and wins back-to-back over the next two weeks, who knows?

What about Spinoff Golf Legend Tony Finau?

Unfortunately the pressure of carrying the Spinoff’s golfing hopes and dreams got to Tony Finau last week and he bombed out of the Deutsche Bank Open, missing the cut and securing zero precious FedEx Cup points. As a result he slipped from 32 to 41 on the rankings, meaning he’s got his work cut out for him this week to make the 30. We still believe in you Tony.

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