Dustin Johnson announced July 31 he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the PGA Tour, missing at least the final three regular-season events and the FedEx Cup playoffs to address “personal challenges.”
Despite missing the last six tournaments, Johnson, who entered the playoffs at No. 6 in the standings, qualified for the playoff- and season-ending Tour Championship at No. 30 on the ladder. Johnson will not play, making it a 29-player field at East Lake, but he will collect a $175,000 bonus to his pension despite not participating.
(From this point of view, the bonus is a reward for Johnson’s solid play during the regular season.)
After the first wrap-around PGA Tour season, however, a number of players complained publicly that their path to the FedEx Cup would require playing four tournament in four consecutive weeks — in many cases, six events in seven weeks. Some, like Phil Mickelson, said they gave thought to skipping one of the first three events to rest, despite the risk of getting eliminated in absentia.
As it turns out, a total of 38 players since the current FedEx Cup format began in 2009 could have taken a playoff vaca and still had a chance at the big $10 million pay day. We looked at the number of points it took to qualify for the Tour Championship in 30th position each of the last six seasons and how many players could skip the first three playoff events without being eliminated before Atlanta.
Here’s the breakdown: