FedEx Cup Format: How the New Playoff Rules Work at Tour Championship

Getty Brooks Koepka is one of the contenders for FedEx Cup championship.

The PGA Tour wanted to avoid handing out two trophies at East Lake and the new FedEx Cup playoff format was introduced. The FedEx Cup refers to the playoffs while the Tour Championship is the final PGA tournament of the year. Instead of keeping up with the Tour Championship leaderboard in addition to the FedEx Cup standings, there is now one leaderboard that covers everything.

This happened by starting the leaders below par at East Lake based on where they were in the standings. For example, the top golfer started 10 strokes ahead of No. 26 through 30 in the standings. Here is a look at how the strokes were divided up for the Tour Championship.


FedEx Cup Playoff Format 2019

FedEx Cup Rank Starting Strokes
No. 1 -10
No. 2 -8
No. 3 -7
No. 4 -6
No. 5 -5
Nos. 6-10 -4
Nos. 11-15 -3
Nos. 16-20 -2
Nos. 21-25 -1
Nos. 26-30 Even

The PGA Is Aiming For 1 Champion at the Tour Championship

Last year, Tiger Woods gave golf fans one of the best moments we have seen at East Lake by breaking his winless drought in Atlanta. The challenge is few people knew it was Justin Rose who won the 2018 FedEx Cup as he was clearly overshadowed by Woods winning the tournament. There will be no more confusion for 2019 as the winner of the Tour Championship is also the winner of the FedEx Cup. The new system has received mixed reviews, but Paul Casey noted he believes it is good for the sport.

“They’re always trying to change these playoffs to make a real climax so we have this great grand winner, one winner at the end of the week, not two tournaments,” Casey said after Round 1. “I’ve been a fan of the format, you know, the handicapping system that’s used all over the world every day for the people to play against each other in this great game of golf. So why not adopt it here? There’s been some negative press, but I’m struggling to see the negativity from our angle. I’ve liked it. I think it’s panning out pretty cool so far. You know, the pressure on the leaders, the guys at the back can freewheel.”


The Old System Featured Simultaneous FedEx Cup Points Standings & a Tour Championship Leaderboard

The previous system had the FedEx Cup standings consistently being impacted by the Tour Championship leaderboard. This was challenging for golfers during tournament play as they had a difficult time knowing where they were in the FedEx Cup standings. Now, the Tour Championship leaderboard tells the whole story for both the playoff and the tournament. Brooks Koepka headed into East Lake as one of the contenders and discussed his mindset with the introduction of the new format.

“I just — I guess you could say I played it like a five-day event,” Koepka noted ahead of the final three rounds. “I knew I was three down and go out there and try to — by the time the turn comes, try to get back to all square. It’s nice to be tied for the lead after the first day. I’m not very good at getting off to good starts, so I usually never get in that position, but it’s nice. Three more days to grind it out and finish the year strong.”


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