Top 50 or Bust? The FedEx Cup Playoffs are a great way to get a head start on the 2024 PGA Tour Season. But not everyone is pleased.

Aug, 2023

GREENSBORO (N.C.) — Justin Thomas was on the outside of the pack at the final FedEx Cup point standings after his 18th-hole pitch shot hit the flagstick, but refused to drop. The final FedEx Cup standings for the regular season show Justin Thomas at No. 71.

FedEx Cup Playoffs will begin with the FedEx St. Jude Championship, in Memphis. The top 70 players from the Wyndham Championship (down to 70 in comparison to 125 between 2009-2022) will qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The top 50 players will qualify for the BMW Championship, and all eight Signature Events on the PGA Tour calendar in 2024.

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Thomas’ disappointment at being excluded from the playoffs will only increase this week. The BMW in Chicago will offer a $20 million purse, increased FedEx Cup points, and no-cut, limited field events that have guaranteed payouts. The Players Championship will continue to have a full-field and will be cut to 65 players and ties, while the Genesis Invitational will only have 80 players with a 50 player cut.

Two tours?

Brandt Snedeker, a veteran professional, said: “I do not like the idea of two tours. “I don’t think it’s a good thing for golf, our tour, or our sponsors.”

Kevin Streelman is a fellow veteran pro who has served on the Player Advisory Council and previously as a director of the board. He argues that the player who finishes at No. The player who comes in at No. 50 gets a huge advantage over the player who comes in at No. 51.

Kevin Streelman’s tee-shot on the 11th green during the 2nd round of the 3M Open. (Photo: Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports)

He said, “It’s a pretty extreme prize.”

Ryan Armour, a member of the PAC who called rank-and-file members of his ilk the “mules” of the organisation, agreed.

The fifth ranked player and the No. Why should the schedule of the 55th player on the PGA Tour be so different from what it will become next year? Armour asked when he appeared on the 5 Clubs Podcast. There is a huge discrepancy in the schedules of No. There is a big discrepancy between No. There is no difference between No. 49 and 55. It was the same thing for everyone.”

Fewer events, but more points for the majors

In 2024 the season will return to a calendar, which runs from January to Labor Day Weekend in September, and be condensed down from 44 events to 36, plus three playoffs. The number of limited field events will increase from two to eight (Sentry Tournament of Champions, WGC-Dell Technologies match play). The FedEx Cup will award 750 points to the winners in each of the four majors, the Players Championship and the Signature event, a rise from 600.

This is an unprecedented change, and many players who will not be among the top 50 are concerned that the cards are stacked against them.

Michael Kim putsts on the 18th hole during the third round at the 2023 Wyndham Championship. (Photo by David Yeazell, USA TODAY Sports).

Michael Kim, who placed No. 79, said, “My first reaction was, “What the hell is that?” The 79th place finisher missed the playoffs. “I try not to be too knee-jerk.”

There are still other ways for players outside of the top 50 to qualify for Signature events. Thomas is No. Players in the top 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking will automatically be eligible. If his ranking does not meet the criteria, then he would likely be a candidate for one or more of the four sponsor exemptions.

The Tour has also created two categories, the “Next 10”, and the “Swing 5”. The Next 10 “consists of the top 10 members not exempted from the current FedEx Cup Standings.” The Swing 5 is the top five FedEx Cup point earners who are not exempt from other categories, and come from the five full-field events preceding each signature event.

The path is stacked against your side

Rory McIlroy said earlier in the season that if you play well for two to three weeks, then you are eligible for a signature event. You’ll know that if you continue to play well, you will be in the event.

This may be oversimplifying. Will 30 Korn-Ferry Tour grads (plus 10 DP World Tour grads) and five PGA Tour Qualified School grads have enough time to play on the West Coast Swing. If they fail to qualify for the U.S. Open, they may also have to take a three-week break in the middle the season. How can those who play their way into the U.S. Open sustain energy and make it a success for them? If they don’t perform well, they will be back at the full-field event, and they are likely exhausted from playing five events in succession.

Gary Woodland drives from a bunker at the 13th green during the second round 2023 3M Open, in Blaine Minnesota. (Photo: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports)

Gary Woodland, the 2019 U.S. Open winner, said, “They give you opportunities to play yourself in, but the road is stacked against your.” Woodland remains exempt from the four majors, and hopes to earn sponsor invitations or play his way into the invite-only events. The top guys at the time had leverage, as they put Jay (Monahan), in a difficult position. Jay was losing players left and right, and the guys who wanted to remain made a move and set up the Tour in their favor. I don’t mind that. Sponsors will gain from more top players competing every week. Is this good for the Tour? Only time will tell. You will be rewarded if you perform well.

The Tour ran over 1,000 simulations and predicted that the number of players who are replaced each year in the top 50 players for the FedEx Cup will be between 14 to 22.

Peter Malnati, a player director on the board said earlier this year: “It’s hard to believe.”

Play well, and you will be in

Webb Simpson, a player director on Tour’s Board who voted for the Signature events, despite not being in the top 50, believes that the Tour has created enough play-in chances – around 20 per event – to reward those with hot hands.

“I have always believed that if you are good enough, you will be in these fields. “I know that some guys will have an issue with this statement. There needs to be more opportunities for everyone, but if one plays well, they’ll get into them,” he said. “I don’t think the PGA Tour exists to show off the 200 best players in the entire world. I believe we are here to show the 75-100 best players in the World. It’s what the fans and TV want. Some people may not like it, but that’s reality. We want to make sure we take care of everyone as best we can, but can these guys really qualify? Absolutely.”

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