Cascade Golfer’s Fed Ex Cup Primer
Confused about the FedEx Cup and how it works? Let Cascade Golfer break it down for you — and get a late-season look at how our local pros are faring as the PGA Tour season makes the turn for home.
The PGA Tour season used to be simple. Tee it up in Hawaii in January. Breeze through Pebble Beach, Southern California and Arizona in February, pass through Augusta in April, then spend the next six months traveling around the southwest, Midwest and East Coast (with a hop across the pond in July). After the next-to-last event, invite the top-30 money winners to the Tour Championship, and the guy with the fattest stack at the end of the week (from the season) is your PGA Tour champion.
In 2007, though, the Tour decided — much like NASCAR had a few years before — to devise a playoff system for its Tour championship … and nothing has really been all that simple since.
Last week, the PGA Tour kicked off the first of four tournaments known as the “Playoff Events” — essentially, a four-week game of Survivor, with the field being whittled from 125 players at last week’s Barclays, to 100 at this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, to70 at next week’s BMW Championship, and finally to 30 for the season-ending Tour Championship at the end of September.
In each case, advancement is not determined by how a player finished in the previous event, but rather by their FedEx Cup points standing. Currently, Nick Watney (3,266 points) sits atop the FedEx Cup standings by virtue of his win at the Barclays last weekend , with Brandt Snedeker, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy close behind.
So, how are our local pros faring? Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore and Tacoma’s Troy Kelly each made it into the top-125 at season’s end, earning one of those coveted playoff spots for 2012. Following last week’s Barclays, Stanley (1,177 points) sits 30th in the FedEx Cup standings, while Moore is also well inside the top-70 at 53rd overall, with 843 points. This week’s Deutsche Bank will cut the field to 70, and then the race will be on for one of the final 30 spots in the Tour Championship.
Of course, the FedEx Cup is only half the story of the PGA Tour’s home stretch. The other half takes place farther down the money list, where Tour vets and up-and-comers alike are fighting to retain their PGA Tour cards for 2013. Starting next year, Tour cards will be awarded to the top-125 on the FedEx Cup points list, but for one more season, it’s all about the benjamins — finish in the top-125 on the money list, and you’re in. Finish 126 or lower, and it’s off to Q School.
Stanley (28th, $2.2 million) and Moore (65th, $1.1 million) are both well above the cut line, and Kelly (105th, $777,000) appears likely to avoid Q School in 2012 as well. His fellow former Washington Husky, Richard H. Lee, currently sits 153rd overall at $366,000, a figure he can improve when the annual Fall Series tees off in October.
Those who do make the cut will be joined by the top-25 players from Web.com Tour (formerly Nationwide Tour), a list that currently includes Lakewood resident Andres Gonzales (5th, $229,000).
That means that in 2013, the Puget Sound region could have four full-time PGA Tour players once again — or more, should Lee make the cut, or should Lee or a player like Tacoma’s Michael Putnam or former Husky Alex Prugh advance through Qualifying School.
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