This week sees the start of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-offs. All season we've heard about points being awarded and some kind of league table but what exactly does it all mean?
Here is skysports.com's guide:
What is the FedEx Cup?
In effect, the FedEx Cup is a championship trophy for the PGA Tour. The idea was to give golf its own play-offs and bring excitement to the latter part of the year rather then let the season fizzle out after the year's final major. It is now in its eighth year. The winner of the trophy bags a massive bonus prize of $10m that comes for a bonus fund of $35m! The four play-off events offer a combined purse of $32m.
The trophy is decided by a points race. The top 125 on the "regular season" points list qualify for the first of the four play-off events - The Barclays. The field is cut again to 100 for leg two, the Deutsche Bank, and then to 70 for the third event, the BMW Championship. This event has no cut and the qualifiers here go on to the final elite 30-man field which contest the Tour Championship in Atlanta and battle it out for the FedEx Cup trophy.
Who finished the season as the leading points earners?
The top 10 were: 1) Rory McIlroy 2,582pts, 2) Jimmy Walker 2,493pts, 3) Bubba Watson 2,173pts, 4) Matt Kuchar 1,921pts, 5) Jim Furyk 1,851pts, 6) Dustin Johnson 1,769pts, 7) Sergio Garcia 1,700pts, 8) Jordan Spieth 1,692pts, 9) Patrick Reed 1,666pts, 10) Chris Kirk 1,571pts
How were these points worked out?
Winners of regular PGA Tour events in the 2013/14 season received 500pts, while The Masters, The Players Championship, US Open, The Open and the US PGA Championship all awarded 600 FedEx Cup points to first place. WGC winners got 550 points with winners of tournaments held alongside majors/WGCs getting 300. A regular PGA Tour event would hand out points as follows: Winner 500, 2nd 300, 3rd 190, 4th 135, 5th 110, 6th 100, 7th 90, 8th 95, 9th 80, 10th 75 all the way to 70th which earned just a single point.
Do these "regular season" points carry over into the play-offs?
Yes, so Rory McIlroy starts as the top seed.
How are points awarded in these play-off events?
There is a big jump. Winners of play-off events get five times as many points as a regular season champ i.e. 2,500pts. Basically all points are quintupled so a second place would be worth 1,500pts (5 x 300).
Points are usually reset ahead of the Tour Championship. Again this year?
Yes. following the conclusion of the BMW Championship, the top 30 qualifiers have their points reset. However, this is an adjustment, rather than everyone just having their points wiped out. They are adjusted so all 30 players left in have a chance to win the FedEx Cup while the top 10 are considered to have an "excellent chance" of winning it. The key though is that the top five seeds control their own destiny. If one of these five win the Tour Championship, that will guarantee them winning the FedEx Cup.
What was Henrik Stenson's path to victory last year?
The Swede started the race in 9th place on the points table last year. He slipped to 13th after a tied 43rd in The Barclays but jumped up to top spot after victory in the Deutsche Bank. A tied 33rd in the BMW saw him drop to No.2 but, as one of the top five, it meant his closing win in the Tour Championship secured him the FedEx Cup jackpot.
Does a player who only just scrapes into the play-offs have a chance of winning the FedEx Cup?
It's theoretically possible but very unlikely. Heath Slocum started the 2009 play-offs in 124th and finished eighth.
What is the record of those who have started the play-offs as No.1 seed?
Sorry Rory, but it's actually quite poor! Only twice in the FedEx Cup's seven-year history has the top seed gone on to claim victory (2007 and 2009). However, the player on both occasions was Tiger Woods so as the game's dominant force Rory will believe he can stay out in front and walk off with the $10m top prize too.
Aug. 21 - 24 The Barclays - Ridgewood Cc, Paramus, New Jersey
Aug. 28 - Sep 1 Deutsche Bank Championship - TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
Sep. 4 - 7 BMW Championship - Cherry Hills CC, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
Sep. 11 - 14 TOUR Championship - East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia