New Tour Championship Format Unveiled

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan unveiled the new format for the Tour Championship that is aimed to make the FedEx Cup Playoff finale an easier-to-understand proposition for players and fans alike.

“Win the Tour Championship and you are the FedExCup champion. It’s that simple,” Monahan said on Tuesday. 

The CliffsNotes version includes some significant changes not only to the final tournament of the season but the entire FedEx Cup structure as a whole. Beginning next season (2018-19), the FedEx Cup prize pool will be doubled from $35 million to $70 million with the FedEx Cup champion’s stake rising from $10 million to $15 million.

A regular-season champion will be crowned as well.

“Among that $70 million will be a $10 million regular season bonus pool, sponsored by Wyndham, tied to the final regular-season FedExCup standings,” Mike McCallister of PGATour.com wrote. ” The new Wyndham Rewards Top 10 $10 million bonus will recognize the top 10 players who earn the most FedExCup points through the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the regular season. The leader will earn $2 million, followed by $1.5 million for the runner-up with the 10th-place finisher earning $500,000.”

While those changes make things better for the players, the biggest change for the fans come at East Lake for the Tour Championship. Instead of having dueling leaderboards — one that shows the stroke play standings of the tournament-proper and one that shows the projected FedEx Cup standings — the PGA Tour is introducing what they are calling the FedExCup Starting Strokes system.

Instead of points-based projections that are constantly in flux throughout the tournament, a strokes-based system will be employed that will give the top-30 players in the standings a starting position ranging from 10-under par — for the points leader —  to even par — for players Nos. 26-30. 

“We have no doubt it will create a compelling, dramatic conclusion for the Tour’s ultimate prize,” Monahan said. “We think this is a significant step forward for the PGA Tour.”

While the Starting Strokes system accomplishes similar goals in theory, ie. the top-5 players have the best chance of winning, everyone in the field still has a chance to win, etc. gripes about the Tour Championship’s value and standing as an official victory for a player who had a 10-stroke advantage over five players in the field. 

“We’re in conversations with the world ranking governing board on the best manner in which to allocate world ranking points to the Tour Championship, and that will happen,” Andy Pazder, the Tour’s chief of operations, told GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard. “We have not reached a conclusion.”

Many of the changes come in response to the crowded trophy ceremony where in year’s past FedEx Cup winners were joined by the Tour Championship winner in an awkward joint ceremony. 

“We wanted to address a concern that we’ve had for a number of years now, which is allowing our fans to engage at a much higher, much deeper level — and that has to start with them being able to follow the competition more closely than they have previously,” Pazder said.

“We’re all accustomed to following a leaderboard week in, week out in our sport. It’s as simple as it can get. Yet at the same time, we wanted to retain much of what wev’e built over the previous 11 or 12 years, which is a system that identifies a player who’s had a great year. He’s our season-long champion. So we wanted it to be something that our players embraced and fully supported.”

What do you think of the new FedEx Cup and Tour Championship changes? Let us know in the comments below. 

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