With two events in the books, only the Tour Championship -- and the lion's share of the available bonus money -- remains as the 2021 FedEx Cup Playoffs come to a close. Patrick Cantlay won the BMW Championship in a six-hole playoff over Bryson DeChambeau to become the new leader in the FedEx Cup standings. Tony Finau, winner of The Northern Trust, sits in second with DeChambeau in third.
Cantlay will open the Tour Championship as the leader at 10 under with Finau two behind him and DeChambeau three strokes back with just 72 holes to go in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season.
Here's a breakdown (and reminder!) of how the FedEx Cup Playoffs work, what to expect now that the second event is complete and how everything will play out over this week as the best in the world make one final push toward the finale and $15 million first prize.
Event: Tour Championship
Dates: Sept. 2-5
Location: East Lake Golf Club -- Atlanta
Field size: 30
Though all three playoff events are 72-hole stroke-play tournaments, the fields gradually got smaller as we zero in on a $15 million winner at the Tour Championship. The metrics change during the playoffs, too, as everything is quadrupled. In the last regular-season event, Kevin Kisner got 500 FedEx Cup points for winning the Wyndham Championship. Finau got 2,000 points for winning The Northern Trust, while Cantlay picked up 2,000 for the BMW Championship. That goes for every slot on the leaderboard (300 for second becomes 1,200 and so on). Only five golfers surpassed the 2,000-point total during the entire regular season, which means the FedEx Cup standings shift quite a bit over the first two playoff events, and winners are disproportionately rewarded.
Cantlay and Finau are sitting pretty at the Tour Championship. Cantlay -- who shot 27 under last week -- will start the tournament up 10 strokes on some of the players in this field. It's a huge advantage for somebody who is playing tremendous golf.
Tour Championship format
Going into the Tour Championship inside the top five or top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings is important because of how scoring is dispersed. Players are given starting scores based on where they are in the FedEx Cup standings after the BMW Championship. Then the event is played under normal scoring conditions from the first round onward. First place in the FedEx Cup starts at 10 under. Second starts at 8 under and so on (see full numbers below). With so much money at stake, those margins become more meaningful than even a normal week. The eventual winners of the last two have started first and fifth.
1. Patrick Cantlay: -10
2. Tony Finau: -8
3. Bryson DeChambeau: -7
4. Jon Rahm: -6
5. Cameron Smith: -5
T6. Justin Thomas, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns: -4
T11. Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson: -3
T16. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Brooks Koepka: -2
T21. Corey Conners, Hideki Matsuyama, Stewart Cink, Joaquin Niemann, Scottie Scheffler: -1
T26. Daniel Berger, Erik van Rooyen, Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Patrick Reed: E
The numbers are startling. The winner of the Tour Championship gets $15 million. If you make it to the final event at all, you're guaranteed $395,000 even if you finish 30th. Everyone who made it to the BMW Championship is guaranteed at least $140,000. Heck, everyone who finished in the top 125 is guaranteed at least $101,000. And all of this is on top of what the tournaments themselves pay out. Add it all up, and FedEx is giving out $60 million in bonus funds to the best players in the world.
- 1st: $15 million
- 2nd: $5 million
- 3rd: $4 million
- 4th: $3 million
- 5th: $2.5 million
- 6th: $1.9 million
- 7th: $1.3 million
- 8th: $1.1 million
- 9th: $950K
- 10th $830K
FedEx Cup Playoffs standings
The current top 10 going into the Tour Championship is mostly made up of players who have played well in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Cantlay and Finau obviously both won, while DeChambeau, Smith and Rahm were all in contention over the first two playoff events. Here's a look at those top 10 going into the Tour Championship at East Lake.
|Rank (Last)||Golfer||FedEx Cup points|
Cantlay is currently the co-favorite to win at 4-1 (mostly because he's starting with such a big lead), but he's joined by Jon Rahm at 4-1 (mostly because he's been the best player in the world this year). Bryson DeChambeau (5-1) and Tony Finau (7-1) are the only other golfers shorter than Justin Thomas at 16-1. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Smith and Rory McIlroy out the top nine favorites at 25-1.
Maybe the most intriguing number is Sam Burns at 33-1. Or perhaps Collin Morikawa at 35-1. Morikawa is obviously a superstar, though he hasn't played like it so far in the playoffs with no top-50 finishes. Burns, on the other hand, is hot. He finished T2 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, T21 at The Northern Trust and eighth last week at the BMW Championship. If he wins this week, he could feasibly play his way onto the Ryder Cup team at the end of September.