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Lucrative FedEx Cup Finale Format Baffles Players

  • The Tour Championship uses a handicapped format that rewards season-long performance.
  • Up for grabs is $57.9 million, with the winner taking home $18 million.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — Money can make people say and do strange things. At this week’s finale of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the $57.9 million purse and unique tournament format is making PGA Tour pros’ heads spin.

“We can come up with something better,” Jon Rahm said. 

The Tour Championship — which tees off Thursday at East Lake Golf Club — is entering the fifth year of a handicapped format that rewards season-long performance. Normally, all golfers begin at even par, but this week’s top five are starting at -10 (Scottie Scheffler), -8 (Viktor Hovland), -7 (Rory McIlroy), -6 (Jon Rahm), and -5 (Lucas Glover).

The system flows down to 30th place, which starts at even par. “I’ve joked a decent amount about being No. 1, you don’t get any extra strokes,” said Scheffler. “And you show up this week, and I do get some extra strokes. So, it’s a bit strange.”

This is what the payouts — part of the overall $75 million FedEx Cup bonus pool — look like for the top five:

  • 1st: $18 million
  • 2nd: $6.5 million
  • 3rd: $5 million
  • 4th: $4 million
  • 5th: $3 million

Even last place receives $500,000 — normally a strong payout for second or third on the Tour. “I wouldn’t say that it is the best format to identify the best golfer for the year,” Scheffler added. 

Xander Schauffle called the format confusing: “This is supposed to be like our most important event all year. … For people to be a little bit confused, it’s still not a finished product.”

But not everyone is up in arms. “I can’t sit here and say that I’ve thought of something better at this point,” McIlroy said. “I’m sure if it needs to be addressed in the future, it will, but I think it works pretty well.”

Next year’s FedEx Cup champion will take home a staggering $25 million, in all likelihood via the same Tour Championship format.

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