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The FedEx Cup Playoffs – All You Need To Know

The FedEx Cup Playoffs – All You Need To Know

With the regular season drawn to a close, it is now time for the playoffs to commence, in the form of the 15th edition of the FedEx Cup. The competition is set to begin on August 19th 2021 when the top 125 best golfers in the world battle it out to be crowned this season’s champion of the PGA Tour.

How Does The Format Work?

The FedEx Cup Playoffs comprises of three different golfing events, concluded by the Tour Championship, where the winner will be crowned, walking away with the $15 million prize as well as a five-year PGA Tour exemption.

The three events for this year’s FedEx Cup begin with the Northern Trust at the Liberty National Golf Club, located in Jersey City, New Jersey, between 19th – 22nd August. This is followed by the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, between 26th – 29th August. The competition is then capped off in the end-of-season Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta between 2nd – 5th September.

Golfers qualify for this tournament by being ranked within the top 125 players according to the FedEx Cup rankings. Those who finish within the top 70 of the Northern Trust will progress through to the BMW Championships. Finally, to climax the tournament, the top 30 ranked golfers will advance and do battle in the final event, the Tour Championship.


The PGA Tour golfers fought through the 50 events that took place in the 2020-21 “super season” concluding with the Wyndham Championship, won by Kevin Kisner. This competition saw who made the cut and be within the top 125 ranked golfers. Therefore, those who have performed consistently throughout the calendar had a good chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

The first event, the Northern Trust, will include a cut-off score, however the other two events, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship are no-cut events meaning that all the qualified players will be able to participate in all 4 days. The golfer with the highest number of points from the first 2 events will commence the Tour Championship with a starting stroke of -10. This system, first established in 2019, was put in place to give those towards the top of the rankings a better advantage at the start of the Tour Championship.

Starting strokes for the Tour Championship:

1st: -10
2nd: -8
3rd: -7
4th: – 6
5th: -5
6th – 10th: -4
11th – 15th: -3
16th – 20th: -2
21st – 25th: -1
26th – 30th: Evens

The winner of the Tour Championship will go onto be declared the FedEx Cup champion and therefore be presented with the FedEx Cup trophy and prize money.

Who Tops the Current FedEx Cup Rankings?

American Colin Morikawa finishes the regular season top of the rankings with a score of 2,171 points. This is following his impressive performances throughout the season including his two wins and eight top-10 finishes.

Jordan Spieth is placed in 2nd, 32 points behind the leader with a total of 2,139 points ahead of the likes of Harris English, Patrick Cantlay and current world no. 1 ranked golfer, John Rahm.

Former world no. 1 and 2018 FedEx Cup winner, Justin Rose failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career following his disappointing ending at the Wyndham Championship.

“For the most part, done what I needed to do this week and just had a disappointing finish there,” the Englishman said. “I wasn’t really playing for top-125 for most of the day, I was playing to try to win the golf tournament.”

Other golfers who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs feature Englishman and Ryder Cup Star Tommy Fleetwood (137th), 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner (154th) and Korean An Byeong-hun (164th).

Golfers who gained significant places within the FedEx Cup rankings ahead of the first event include Roger Sloan (131st to 92nd), Scott Piercy (126th – 116th) and Chesson Hadley (132nd to 125th).

Who Are the Previous Winners?

Last year’s winner of the FedEx Cup was current world no. 2 ranked golfer, Dustin Johnson.

List of previous FedEx Cup champions since 2012:

  • 2020: Dustin Johnson
  • 2019: Rory McIlroy
  • 2018: Justin Rose
  • 2017: Justin Thomas
  • 2016: Rory McIlroy
  • 2015: Jordan Spieth
  • 2014: Billy Horschel
  • 2013: Henrik Stenson
  • 2012: Brandt Snedeker

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only two golfers who have twice won the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Woods in 2007 and 2009 and McIlroy in 2016 and 2019.

SEE ALSO: New PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf 2021-22 – Read the digital version here