Starting in 2019, the Tour Championship is both the season-ending event on the PGA Tour and the tournament which determines who wins the FedEx Cup and its bolstered $15 million first-place prize.
The Tour Championship format has changed in 2019, eliminating the idea of a separate tournament to determine the winner of the season-long points-based competition. Now, the rankings after the BMW Championship determine not only the top 30 players who get into the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Each player in the field is assigned a starting score — a handicap of sorts — that creates a deficit players must make up to win the event. The winner of the handicap Tour Championship wins the FedEx Cup.
The question from fans has been if the new FedEx Cup money is now the purse of the Tour Championship and if these earnings are now considered official. The answer to both questions is no.
The Tour Championship now technically has no purse. There isn’t a separate purse for the tournament and the bonus pool. They’ve effectively been combined and had some more money added to form the new FedEx Cup bonus pool.
With the Tour Championship being a handicap tournament, the PGA Tour didn’t want to give official wins to players who may have started out with an enormous edge over their fellow competitors. While the Official World Golf Ranking will hand out points for the Tour Championship, those will be based on the 72-hole performance of players in the field without the extra strokes assigned by pre-tournament FedEx Cup ranking.
Further, the FedEx Cup bonus pool money will not be considered official money for PGA Tour record-keeping purposes. FedEx Cup bonus pool money has never been considered in official earnings, so it would be bizarre for the Tour to start now, 13 years into the FedEx Cup concept.
It all makes sense in the end, but effectively, the fate of $46 million will be decided in the Tour Championship — and none of it will count toward career official earnings.