FedEx Cup: PGA Tour announces Tour Championship revamp for 2019


Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau

Justin Rose starts behind leader Bryson DeChambeau at this year’s Tour Championship

Prize money for the season-ending FedEx Cup winner will rise to $15m (£11.4m) in a revamp announced by the PGA Tour.

From 2019, a new handicap system at the Tour Championship will also mean the overall leader starts on 10 under par, with second place two shots behind.

The third ranked player will start at seven under par, with fourth and fifth place in the standings starting at six and five under respectively.

The next five in the rankings will begin at four under par, with scores regressing by one shot for every five players until those ranked between 26th and 30th, who will start at level par.

The total bonus pool will rise $25m (£19m) to $60m (£45m).

This year’s winner at East Lake in Atlanta will earn $10m (£7.6m).

Under the current system, FedEx Cup points won throughout the season are partly reset before the Tour Championship begins, so that all 30 players theoretically can win.

However, any player in the top five is guaranteed the overall title with victory.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “Compared to the current system, the beauty here is in the simplicity.

“Fans are very familiar with golf leaderboards in relation to par, so they will have a clear understanding of the impact every shot makes during the final run for the FedEx Cup, ultimately leading to a singular champion without conflicting storylines.”

‘It will be very, very weird’

The FedExCup play-offs will also be reduced from four events to three, with the Dell Technologies Championship removed from the schedule.

The top 125 players after the Wyndham Championship will compete in The Northern Trust, with 70 qualifying for the BMW Championship and the traditional top 30 contesting the title-deciding Tour Championship.

American world number four Justin Thomas said the new system was “very, very weird” and “something that’s going to be hard to get used to”.

He added: “You could just be shot out of the tournament really, because if you start nine or 10 back and shoot a couple over the first day your week is realistically done. That part’s a little bit of a bummer but we’re just going to see how it unfolds and hopefully it turns out well.

“It’s going to be different for sure. I liked the way that it is now but, like anything, you’re just going to have to get used to it. Hopefully it will produce a lot of great drama and a very deserving winner.”

Asked whether the lack of a level playing field for the Tour Championship went “against the grain of what makes sport special”, Thomas replied: “I really don’t know what to say. I agree with you, I’ll just say that.”

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour also announced a new incentive program designed to reward the players who have the best regular seasons.

After the Wyndham Championship, the last tournament before the start of the FedEx Cup play-offs, the regular-season points leader will receive $2m (£1.5m) from a $10m fund shared among the top 10.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/45566104

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