How would new PGA Tour FedEx Cup points distribution affect playoff qualifiers?
PGA Tour

How would new PGA Tour FedEx Cup points distribution affect playoff qualifiers?


In case you haven't heard (and you probably haven't since this is rather wonky), the PGA Tour has changed how it doles out FedEx Cup points during each event of the regular season. They made this change with the intent of offering more points to players who finish higher in a tournament, placing a premium on top-15 finishes and setting up a points distribution system that more closely mirrors the payout structure of PGA Tour events.

While you can study the full changes here, the basic gist is that players finishing anywhere from 15th to 67th place will get fewer FedEx Cup points this season than last, with 34th through 45th place losing the most points year over year, getting 15 fewer points. Players who finish 68th place or worse and still make the cut will actually earn slightly more points, with 70th place earning 2 full more FedEx Cup points than last season.

So, while we won't know how the system will shake out for the 2016-17 season, we can take a look at a model of how the 2015-16 season would have played out with this new points distribution model. Thankfully, we have the handiwork, and his findings are interesting.

  • In general, players earn fewer points than the prior model
  • There would be no change in the top nine FedEx Cup players, but Hideki Matsuyama would improve from 13th to 10th in the rankings
  • 5 players would fall out of the top 125, missing the playoffs: Shawn Stefani (123rd to 126th), Anirban Lahiri (117th to 128th), Michael Kim (115th to 129th), Seung Yul Noh (125th to 131st), Kyle Stanley (116th to 133rd)
  • 5 players would jump into the top 125, making the playoffs: Steve Marino (130th to 118th), Morgan Hoffmann (133rd to 119th), Bud Cauley (135th to 120th, after keeping his card on the now-deprecated money list exemption), Scott Stallings (128th to 121st), Whee Kim (127th to 125th)

As you might imagine, the system will reward players who sprinkle in some high finishes (like Marino did, P-2 at Puerto Rico) instead of a guy who makes a ton of cuts (like Tyrone Van Aswegen, who did little of greatness all year but cash checks).

The change also affects players trying to get their cards back through a Major Medical Extension, with the number of tournaments granted based on their pre-injury schedule but earning the points to keep their card on the new distribution model with 15 percent fewer total available points. Ian Poulter is a good example. He needs 218.4 FedEx Cup points in 10 tournaments to get his card back. So far, he has earned 64 in the 4 tournaments he has played. Under the old model, Poulter would have 82.5 points and be much closer to his required total. 

We'll see how these numbers play out over a full season, including for Tour and Tour Finals grads who are thirsty for starts.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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