On This Page

Complete Guide to the FedEx Cup

Building momentum for the playoffs is what the regular season in sports is all about. Ever since 2007, golf has joined in on this party, and boy has it turned up the volume and made things more exciting come postseason time.

The PGA Tour used to play a season-long schedule, have one 72-hole event they called the Tour Championship in September and call it a day. Now, a full, 12-month schedule with points awarded to golfers each event is dedicated to narrowing the field down by playoff time, just as they do in the NFL, NBA or MLB.

It’s called the FedEx Cup, and it’s what this page is all about it. Consider this your reference guide for anything and everything you want to know about the PGA Tour’s season-long race for the FedEx Cup title.

Are you wondering what the incentive is to chase down the season-long trophy?

The tour hands out $10 million to the guy who is able to earn the most points over the course of the year. So there are 10 million reasons right there.

If you want to know who has won the FedEx Cup in the past or how many points are awarded per tournament, get comfortable and start reading. Our golf experts carefully organized the following guide, so any questions you had about the FedEx Cup would be a just click away!

Let’s jump right in and start talking about the Fed Ex Cup from its beginning.

FedEx Cup – When Did It Start?

By the end of the 2005 PGA Tour Season, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem knew the tour needed “something else to spice up the action.” Something that would encourage players and fans to be engaged for the whole year, and something that would be an exclamation mark to the end of the season.

Before, we just had the money list. The top 125 finishers on the season-ending money list would retain their playing privileges on the PGA Tour for the next season. Once the Tour Championship ended, nobody even thought about golf until the following January. This is not the case anymore.

Enter- the Fed Ex Cup.

2007 was the inaugural year for this new and improved way to keep track of player’s performances throughout the season.

After a couple tweaks to the way the points were awarded during the playoff events after the 2008 season, the points system has remained fairly intact.

Obviously, the bigger and more prestigious the tournament is, the more points are available for winning and finishing well.

Let’s take a closer look and what we are talking about and discuss the entire scope of the schedule.

Tournament Schedule

The PGA Tournament schedule has been adjusted and changed to fit and make sense with the surrounding landscape of today’s world. What we mean is that the PGA Tour has compiled a year-long schedule of events that makes sense in terms of other major sporting events and giving players some kind of “offseason”.

The season’s opening tournament no longer takes place the first week of the new year in Hawaii as it always had in the past.

We are referring to the implementation of what they call “the wrap-around schedule.”

Golf IconWrap-Around Schedule

The Tour still plays back-to-back events in Maui and Honolulu in early January, but by then, some players have played as many as seven tournaments on the schedule already. How is that possible? It’s because of the “wrap-around” schedule the PGA Tour has used since 2013.

The season-ending Tour Championship occurs usually the third week of September, just as it always has. The difference is that we don’t have to sit around and wait until January for the next PGA Tour event now. After a couple weeks break, the players on tour hop right back on the saddle.

We will show you exactly what we mean by displaying what the calendar in October and November now looks like for a PGA Tour player. Here is the start of the 2017-2018 PGA schedule showing the events that are part of the season-long FedEx Cup race.

DateTournamentFedEx Cup Points to WinnerTotal Purse ($)
Oct. 5-8Safeway Open500$6.2 million
Oct. 12-15CIMB Classic500$7.0 million
Oct. 19-22The Cj CUP500$9.25 million
Oct. 26-29Sanderson Farms Championship300$4.3 million
Oct. 26-29WGC-HSBC Championship550$9.75 million
Nov. 2-5Shriners Hospitals for Children Open500$6.8 million
Nov. 9-12OHL Classic at Mayakoba500$7.1 million
Nov. 16-19The RSM Classic500$6.2 million

As you can see, players that choose to wait until Hawaii in January to begin their campaign are now behind the 8-ball. There is a lot of FedEx Cup points and a whole bunch of money up for grabs during these 7 events.

Despite occurring in 2017, these tournaments basically count towards next season. It is just that the next season actually starts right after the completion of the prior one.

Players that are able to perform well and earn points during this wrap-around schedule will have a big leg up on their competition by the time Christmas and the New Year approach. Many of the big-name players will only play 2-3 of the first 7 events; some do not play any.

When you examine the schedule closely, the players still don’t play

a tournament from Thanksgiving until the first week of January.

Players can play the full schedule and still take a 5-week break

during the holiday season in order to gear up for the new year.

Once January rolls around, the PGA Tour schedule progresses in a similar fashion as it had done in the past. The addition of a point system is the big change. Rather than just keep track of dollars earned, points are awarded each event depending on how you finish.

Non-Majors and WGC events have a total of 2,989 points of for grabs, with 500 of them going to the winner. The more significant events have slightly more points available.

The World Golf Championships will award 550 points to the winner and have a total of 3,240 points. The four Majors award 600 of the total 3,375 points to the winning player.

An example of a how the FedExCup points are handed out for a standard PGA Tour event is as follows.

Golf Icon2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

**Total Points 2,989

FinishPoints EarnedFinishPoints Earned
Winner500Tied 10th63.66
Runner-Up300Tied 16th52
3rd190Tied 20th35.16
Tied 4th115Tied 32nd20.16
Tied 4th115Tied 41st12.58
Tied 4th115Tied 51st6.80
Tied 7th85Tied 57th5.10
Tied 7th85Tied 72nd2.70
Tied 7th85Tied 77th2.25

If there was a two-way tie for second-place, the players would split the second and third-place points and each receives 245 points. The three players that tied for fourth place each split the points allotted for the 4th, 5th and 6th place finishers.

Same thing for the 3 men who tied for 7th. The points for finishing 8th and 9th were combined with the 7th place points and divided by 3- amounting to the 85 points for the T-7 finish.

Every player that makes the cut in a given week will earn FedEx Cup Points. For example, a T13th finish may net you 56.25 points while a 73rd place finish may only get you 2.70 points. The point is, if you make the cut, you earn points.

The better you finish, the more points you are awarded. No points are granted to players that fail to make the cut.

Now that you have a basic idea of what the point breakdown looks like, let’s look even closer at the FedEx Cup Schedule. Not every professional golf tournament hands out FedEx Cup points.

As you know, the winner gets more points the more substantial the golf tournament is. Let’s take a dive into the FedEx Cup Schedule.

The FedEx Cup Schedule

Here is a complete list of the Fed Ex Cup eligible tournaments for the 2017-2018 PGA Tour. The only opportunities to earn FedEx Cup points are by completing 72 holes in one of the following 44 tournaments.

DateTournamentFedEx Cup Points to WinnerTotal Purse ($)
Oct. 5-8Safeway Open500$6.2 million
Oct. 12-15CIMB Classic500$7.0 million
Oct. 19-22The CJ CUP500$9.25 million
Oct. 26-29Sanderson Farms Championship300$4.3 million
Oct. 26-29WGC – SBC Champions550$9.75 million
Nov. 2-5Shriners Hospitals for Children Open500$6.8 million
Nov. 9-12OHL Classic at Mayakoba500$7.1 million
Nov. 16-19The RSM Classic500$6.2 million
Jan. 4-7Sentry Tournament of Champions500$6.3 million
Jan. 11-14Sony Open in Hawaii500$6.2 million
Jan. 18-21CareerBuilder Challenge500$5.9 million
Jan. 25-28Farmers Insurance Open500$6.9 million
Feb. 1-4Waste Management Phoenix Open500$6.9 million
Feb. 8-11AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am500$7.4 million
Feb. 15-18Genesis Open500$7.2 million
Feb. 22-25The Honda Classic500$6.6 million
Mar. 1-4Puerto Rico Open300$3.0 million
Mar. 1-4WGC – Mexico Championship550$10.0 million
Mar. 8-11Valspar Championship500$6.5 million
Mar. 15-18Arnold Palmer Invitational500$8.9 million
Mar. 21-25WGC – Dell Technologies Mach Play550$10.0 million
Mar. 29 – Apr. 1Houston Open500$7.0 million
Apr. 5-8Masters Tournament600$11.0 million
Apr. 12-15RBC Heritage500$6.70 million
Apr. 19-22Valero Texas Open500$6.20 million
Apr. 26-29Zurich Classic of New Orleans400$7.20 million
May 3-6Wells Fargo Championship500$7.70 million
May 10-13The Players Championship600$10.5 million
May 17-20AT&T Byron Nelson500$7.7 million
May 24-27Dean & Deluca Invitational500$7.1 million
May 31 – Jun. 3The Memorial Tournament 500$8.9 million
Jun. 7-10FedEx St. Jude Classic500$6.6 million
Jun. 14-17United States Open600$12.0 million
Jun. 21-24Travelers Championship500$7.0 million
Jun. 28 – Jul. 1The National500$7.1 million
Jul. 5-8The Greenbrier Classic500$7.3 million
Jul. 12-15John Deere Classic500$5.8 million
Jul. 19-22The Open Championship600$10.25 million
Jul. 19-22Barbasol Championship300$3.5 million
Jul. 26-29RBC Canadian Open500$6.2 million
Aug. 2-5WGC – Bridgestone Invitational550$10.0 million
Aug. 2-5Barracuda Championship300$3.4 million
Aug. 9-12The PGA Championship600$10.5 million
Aug. 16-19Wyndham Championship500$6.0 million

The above schedule represents the “regular season”. Making the playoffs or the postseason is very straightforward. At the completion of the Wyndham Championship, the top 125 players on the FedEx Cup points list punch their ticker to the first playoff event in New Jersey, The Northern Trust.

FedEx Cup Playoffs

DateTournamentFedEx Cup Points to WinnerTotal Purse ($)
Aug. 23-26The Northern Trust2000$9.0 million
Aug. 31 – Sep. 3Dell Technologies Championship2000$9.0 million
Sep. 6-9BMW Championship2000$9.0 million
Sep. 20-23Tour Championship2000$9.0 million

This is where things get pretty interesting. In the NBA playoffs, 16 teams are narrowed down to eight teams after the first round. The field is cut in half to four teams after the next round until two teams ultimately meet in the NBA Finals.

The FedEx Cup playoff format has some similarities. While the field doesn’t get narrowed down to two players, the field size does shrink each week, making it tougher to proceed past each event. The “narrowing down” of players during the FedEx Cup playoffs looks like this:

Tournaments# of Players Advancing
The Northern Trust125
Dell Technologies Championship100
BMW Championship70
Tour Championship30

The top 125 golfers advance to the start of the postseason. Essentially, after “the first round of playoffs”, which in this case is The Northern Trust, the bottom 25 golfers are eliminated. The remaining 100 golfers move on to the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston.

Here, the field is whittled down to the top 70. The players that finish the week ranked between 71-100 on the FedEx Cup points list pack their bags and head home until the start of the new season. The top 70 players make the short trip to Newton Square, Pennsylvania the following week to contend in the BMW Championship.

This is the final test, the final hurdle for players to jump over. Only the top 30 of the 70 golfers will be blessed with a tee time at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, the home of the Tour Championship.

A tee time at East Lake in late September means you had a heck of a season. Achieving a spot in the Tour Championship assures you the schedule of your choice for the following year. Exemptions into all the Majors and World Golf Championship (WGC) events are given to the 30 players that make it to Atlanta.

When you look closely at the number of points awarded to the winners of the four playoff events, you will immediately notice the enormous stress they place on the postseason events. The reason they do this is to allow for volatility—just like in all the major sports.

It doesn’t matter in the National Football League if you win your division by four games or barely sneak in via the wild card. Once you are in the playoffs, everything is reset and whoever wins moves on to the next round.

Dramatically increasing the number of points awarded during the four FedEx Cup playoff events allows for golfers who “get hot at the right time” to be recognized. The reason that the points system is not completely reset is so that we can’t get lost in the actual award.

The FedEx Cup Championship is designed to be won by the golfer who had the best overall year, not just the best final month of the season.

The players who win multiple events during the regular season and consistently have good finishes will position themselves much better heading into the start of the playoffs than those who “limp their way in”.

The only way to advance through each tournament in the playoffs is to be high enough on the overall points list.

In other sports, the teams with the better records have home-field advantage—increasing their likelihood of advancing to the next round. Golfers who have more points heading into each playoff event have that automatic built-in advantage towards advancing, given they have a head start by having more points to begin with.

Anyone who makes the top 125 and gets hot enough can chase down the trophy—we have seen it done in the past. In 2014, Billy Horschel snuck his way into the Deutsche Bank Championship (top 100) ranked 82nd on the FedEx Cup list.

With only three events remaining, he was unlikely to even make it to the next week’s BMW Championship (top 70), let alone win the entire FedEx Cup.

Billy would finish T-2nd at the Deutsche Bank Championship and follow that up with victories both the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. Within a matter of a few weeks, Horschel vaulted himself from being well-outside the picture to a man who won over $14 million dollars in the month of September alone.

Speaking of Billy in 2014, let’s take a look at just exactly who has won the FedEx Cup title and when they were victorious.

List of FedEx Cup Winners

This is a list of golfers who have won the FedEx Cup Trophy and won the extra $10 million in cash that comes along with the recognition.

YearWinnerFedEx Cup Ranking at Start of Playoffs
2007Tiger Woods1
2008Vijay Singh7
2009Tiger Woods1
2010Jim Furyk3
2011Bill Haas15
2012Brandt Snedeker19
2013Henrik Stenson9
2014Billy Horschel69
2015Jordan Spieth1
2016Rory McIlroy36
2017Justin Thomas2

Only three of the first 11 FedEx Cup winners actually came into the playoffs sitting atop the points list. This goes to show that anyone who plays well enough at the right time can work their way up the list and into the discussion for the $10 million grand prize.

The Takeaway

The implementation of the FedEx Cup in 2007 painted the picture of the PGA Tour season with a brand-new brush, in a whole new light. Instead of only focusing the four Majors and the Players Championship, players now gear their entire season-long schedule in the hopes of having a chance to hoist the FedEx Cup trophy every fall.

The excitement added to the game when players are coming down the stretch resembles crunch time in a Super Bowl or a World Series Game 7.

In 2011, Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan entered a sudden-death playoff at East Lake Golf Club, in essence, with $10 million on the line. Literally, the two guys were playing a single golf hole, and the winner would take home $10 million—and we all got to watch it at home on television.

Talk about a captivating moment in sports. When Bill Haas hit that remarkable shot from the water in sudden death to help clinch the title and the $10 million, even non-golf fans were in awe and couldn’t take their eyes off the screen.

The addition of the FedEx Cup and its playoffs system has reinvigorated the golfing public and sports fans in general. Many people don’t like baseball or hockey, but they can appreciate and will watch the World Series or the Stanley Cup.

It’s ok if you don’t want to sit through watching round one of a typical golf tournament on TV. Trying to keep your eyes off the screen when players are coming down the stretch playing for all that money and fame? Well, good luck with that one.

The FedEx Cup means everything to the PGA Tour. Hopefully this article has helped you gain a grasp on which tournaments award points and how many points go to each player that competes.

Adding the tournaments in October and November entices the fans by giving them a small taste of what’s in store come January.

With this page bookmarked, you will have everything you need when it comes to knowing something about the FedEx Cup.