The FedEx Cup is the championship trophy that is awarded to the winner of the PGA Tour. Similar to the NASCAR point system, the FedEx Cup gives golfers an opportunity to improve their positions on point lists as the season and playoffs progress. The FedEx cup was created in 2007, and Tiger Woods was the first winner. PGA Tour players earn points for each tournament they enter during the regular golf season (January-August). The number of points depends on where the player finishes in the tournament and the difficulty of the competition. The winner of an important tournament, like the U.S. Open, could earn 600 points, while the winner of a lesser tournament might only earn 200 points. Players who finish the tournament but don’t win are awarded fewer points, depending on their position.
Only full-time members of the PGA Tour can receive points. Points that would’ve otherwise been earned by non-members are not awarded. Players who officially join mid-season only earn points from that moment forward, putting them at a distinct disadvantage. The top 125 PGA point leaders qualify for the playoffs at the end of the regular season, with 50,000 points up for grabs. The winner of each playoff tournament earns 2,500 points, which are added to their regular season totals. Players with the fewest points are eliminated after each playoff tournament. After three playoff events, the top 30 players advance to the finals . Each finalist has a chance to win the cup, but the higher seeds have a better chance. The highest qualifier starts off with 2500 points, while the lowest qualifier starts off with only 210 points. Any of the top five players can win the FedEx Cup by winning The Tour Championship. The winner is awarded the FedEx Cup Trophy and $10 million. The runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up receive $3 million, $2 million and $1.5 million respectively.
There have been a few rule adjustments in the Cup’s relatively short history. For example, a championship can no longer be won until the completion of the final playoff event (The Tour Championship). In 2008 Vijay Singh accumulated so many points that he could ensure victory simply by finishing. He didn’t even have to play very well in the final event.