Tour Championship to offer head start to FedEx leader from 2019
Leading player will start final event on 10 under in bid to simplify playoffs
Rory McIlroy celebrates his victory at the final round of the 2016 PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Photograph: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The PGA Tour has announced a massive increase in prizemoney and radical changes to the season-ending FedEx Cup, with the points leader given a two-shot “head start” in the Tour Championship.
From 2019, the player who has the most FedEx Cup points after the BMW Championship will start the first round of the 2019 Tour Championship on a score of 10 under par.
The second-highest points earner will begin at eight under, the third ranked player at seven under and those who arrive at East Lake in Atlanta in fourth and fifth in the standings will start at six and five under respectively.
The next five players on the list will begin at four under, with scores regressing by one shot for every five players until those ranked between 26th and 30th start the event at even par.
If the system had been in place ahead of this week’s Tour Championship, Bryson DeChambeau would begin on 10 under par, with Justin Rose eight under. Rory McIlroy, who is 17th on the list, would start on two under, as would Tiger Woods, who is 20th in FedEx Cup points.
The player who finishes the Tour Championship with the lowest score will win the tournament and the FedEx Cup, with the first prize increased by 50 per cent from $10 million (€8.5 million) to $15 million (€12.8 million).
The overall bonus pool has increased by $25million (€21.4 million) to $60million (€51.3 million).
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “Compared to the current system, the beauty here is in the simplicity.
“Fans are very familiar with golf leaderboards in relation to par, so they will have a clear understanding of the impact every shot makes during the final run for the FedEx Cup, ultimately leading to a singular champion without conflicting storylines.”
Under the current system, points won throughout the season are reset ahead of the Tour Championship so that all 30 players theoretically can win the FedEx Cup. However, the top five in the standings are guaranteed the overall title, respective of other results, by winning the Tour Championship.
Monahan also announced a new incentive programme designed to reward the players who have the best regular seasons, the $10 million (€8.5 million ) Wyndham Rewards Top 10.
After the Wyndham Championship, the last tournament before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the regular-season points leader will receive $2 million (€1.7 million).
Players who finish in the top 10 will also earn prizemoney, ranging from $1.5 million (€1.28 million) for second place to $500,000 (€428,000) for 10th.