The 2021 FedEx Cup playoffs format has changed several times since the concept was introduced in 2007, and the FedEx Cup playoffs format that is now used started with the 2018-2019 PGA Tour season.
Explaining the FedEx Cup playoffs format means detailing how players earn FedEx Cup points, qualify for playoff events to the Tour Championship and then convert position to strokes for the Tour Championship, which decides who wins the $15 million first-place prize.
2021 FedEx Cup playoff format
How to qualify
As has been the case since the start of the FedEx Cup, the entire PGA Tour regular season leads to the FedEx Cup playoffs, with each official PGA Tour event offering points to players who made the 36-hole cut based on a standardized system. For each regular PGA Tour event, the winner earns 500 FedEx Cup points. At the four majors and The Players, the winner earns 600 FedEx Cup points. At the four World Golf Championships, the winner earns 550 points. At opposite-field PGA Tour events -- that is, those played opposite the WGCs and majors -- the winner gets 300 FedEx Cup points.
All of the points from regular season events are tallied together at the conclusion of the regular season, which comes at the Wyndham Championship. The top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings at the end of that tournament qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. Those 125 players also lock up their PGA Tour cards for the next season.
The top 10 finishers in the regular season FedEx Cup points list also earn money from the $10 million Comcast Business Tour Top 10 bonus pool, with the regular-season winner earning $2 million.
FedEx Cup playoff events and cuts
Three FedEx Cup playoff events will be played (instead of what had been four). The FedEx Cup playoff events whittle a field of 125 down to 30 for the final event at the Tour Championship. The points are increased by a factor of four from the regular season events, with a winner picking up 2,000 FedEx Cup points in the first two playoff events. Points earned in each of the first two legs of the playoffs are added to a player's regular season tally, with the field for subsequent playoff events determined on the combined points.
- The Northern Trust has a field of 125 players (and is the only playoff event with a 36-hole cut), with the top 70 in combined FedEx Cup points from the regular season and The Northern Trust moving to the next leg.
- The BMW Championship has a field of the top 70 in combined points (and has no cut), with the top 30 in combined points moving on to the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Tour Championship format
Starting in 2019, the Tour Championship format in Atlanta will represent a wiping of the slate of FedEx Cup points. However, starting position in the FedEx Cup standings will be key, as the Tour Championship will essentially become a handicap tournament, with each player in the field starting at a certain position against par before a shot is ever hit.
The top seed will start at 10 under par, giving them a big edge over the players ranked Nos. 26-30, who begin at even par.
A 72-hole Tour Championship will then be played, and the best total score from the tournament and with handicaps included will be declared the FedEx Cup champion.
The FedEx Cup bonus pool has been increased to $60 million from $35 million, meaning the FedEx Cup champion will now earn $15 million. However, the top 150 players -- all of which are assured at least conditional status on the PGA Tour for the next season -- earn at least a piece of the bonus pool money.