The PGA Tour's playoffs for the FedEx Cup start this week with the 2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., at TPC Southwind.
The playoff opener is the first of three events in a revamped playoff system that will see a FedEx Cup championship crowned for the 17th year since it began in 2007, when Tiger Woods won the first edition of the FedEx Cup.
This year, though, the PGA Tour playoffs are quite different. For the first time, less than 125 players qualify for the initial leg of the playoffs, which has been reduced in recent years from four tournaments to three. This year, just the top 70 players in the final regular-season FedEx Cup points list qualify for the opening tournament, the FedEx St. Jude Championship, making is much more difficult to get to the postseason than ever.
This change also means that the top 125 players in the final regular-season standings don't automatically retain their PGA Tour card for next season. The players who qualify for the playoffs do, and they get guaranteed access to every non-signature event next year. The players who miss the playoffs and aren't otherwise exempt will battle it out in the fall events, now called the FedEx Cup fall, to determine priority order and cards for 2024.
However, getting into the playoffs isn't the only big step in the postseason. Qualifying for the next stage, the BMW Championship, now comes with its own huge reward. The players who get into the BMW Championship have guaranteed access to every signature event next year (those were designated events this year). That means their earning potential goes up dramatically by getting into that next tournament.
So how many players are eliminated after this week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship?
A total of 20 of the 70 players who qualified for the FedEx St. Jude Championship will be eliminated this week. The top 50 in total points between the regular season and this week's event (which has four times the points to a winner, 2,000, as a normal event) move on to the BMW Championship.
The odds of players who started the week outside the top 50 moving into the top 50 are pretty slim. Generally speaking, less than five players move in and out of the cutoff in a given FedEx Cup playoff event, and that's likely to be even lower this week. A player ranked 51st through 70th needs a significant week to get into the second stage of the playoffs.