FedExCup Insider: A closer look at how players accrued their FedExCup points
August 07, 2019
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
New format for 2019 FedExCup Playoffs
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - There are many paths to the FedExCup Playoffs. With a regular season that began in October and featured more than 40 events, playerss accumulated the necessary FedExCup points in myriad ways.
It took 376 points to qualify for this year’s FedExCup Playoffs, which start with this week’s THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National in New Jersey.
Some players secured their Playoffs spot with a strong start to the fall season. Others made a late dash across the line. There were displays of remarkable consistency, and examples of players who earned the bulk of their points with one high finish.
Here’s a closer look at how players qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs.
MOST POINTS PER START
Let’s start by looking at average points earned per start. It’s no surprise that the top players in the standings are atop this list. Prize distribution is always top-heavy, and it’s no different with FedExCup points. A win is worth 500 points at most events, while a 10th-place finish is worth 75.
For reference, a third-place finish in most events is worth 190 points. A fourth-place finish is worth 135. Each player's FedExCup ranking is listed next to their name.
Name Points per start
1. Brooks Koepka 160.4 2. Rory McIlroy 144.7
3. Matt Kuchar 121.7
49. Collin Morikawa 111.4
7. Dustin Johnson 105.4
Every player in the above list is in the top 10 of the FedExCup except for Collin Morikawa, who’s catapulted to 49th in the FedExCup in just seven pro starts. He has a win and two other top-5 finishes and has yet to miss a cut. His worst finish is T36.
Rory McIlroy has a tour-leading 12 top-10s in just 16 starts this season, including two wins.
Brooks Koepka is the only player with three wins this season. He won the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in the fall, then added a major (PGA Championship) and World Golf Championship (FedEx St. Jude Invitational). He also has three runners-up this season. He’s finished first or second in one-third of his starts.
POINTS EARNED IN ONE START
Pro golf can be a tough way to make a living. It’s not as easy as the top players make it look, but the beautiful thing about the game is that a career can change in a week. That’s what the players on this list exemplify. These are the players who earned the highest percentage of their points in a single start.
Name % earned in one start 70. Matthew Wolff
83.1% (500/602) 55. Adam Long 69.5% (500/719) 53. Dylan Frittelli 68.0% (500/735) 52. Max Homa 67.4% (500/742) 101. Patrick Rodgers 65.4% (300/459)
Matthew Wolff’s presence on this list is a bit misleading. He’s only played six events as a pro. He won in his third start, at the 3M Open, to join Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw as the only players to win an NCAA Championship and PGA TOUR title in the same season.
Max Homa and Adam Long both had two top-10s this season. One of them was a win. Dylan Frittelli’s win at the John Deere Classic was his only top-10 this season. He was 154th in the FedExCup before his victory.
Patrick Rodgers was runner-up at the RSM Classic after shooting 61-62 in the final two rounds. He set the PGA TOUR record for low score over the final 36 holes of a tournament.
POINTS EARNED IN THREE BIGGEST WEEKS
The old saying goes that a player earns the bulk of his money (or FedExCup points) in just three weeks of work. It’s true. Of the 125 qualifiers for this year’s playoffs, 88 earned more than half their points in just three starts. The players on the below list earned the highest percentage of their points in their three biggest weeks.
Name % earned in 3 starts 70. Matthew Wolff
97.2% (585/602) 34. Phil Mickelson
88.4% (798/903) 20. Shane Lowry 87.1% (990/1137) 49. Collin Morikawa
85.6% (668/780) 55. Adam Long 84.1% (605/719) 31. Corey Conners 83.1% (799/962)
Wolff and Morikawa are on this list, of course, because of their brief pro careers.
Phil Mickelson had his two best finishes of the season in California. He finished second at the Desert Classic after opening the tournament with a 60. He added to his Hall of Fame resume with a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, as well. Those are his only top-10s this season.
Shane Lowry’s win at The Open Championship was preceded by a runner-up finish at the RBC Canadian Open and third-place finish at the RBC Heritage.
POINTS EARNED IN BACK-TO-BACK STARTS
These aren’t the players who earned the highest percentage of their points in back-to-back starts. Those numbers can be skewed by one single performance, especially a win. Instead, these are some notable examples of players earning a bulk of their points in consecutive starts. All of these are instances where players had back-to-back top-10s, proving that when you’re hot, you’re hot.
Name % earned in back-to-back starts 28. Tiger Woods 69.9% (701/1,003) 37. Keith Mitchell 66.6% (589/884) 29. Sung Kang 60.9% (600/986) 97. Talor Gooch 64.4% (298/463) 4. Xander Schauffele 56.5% (1,050/1,858) 14. Chez Reavie 49.5% (648/1,309)
Tiger Woods preceded his Masters win with a T5 at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play that was worth 101 FedExCup points.
Keith Mitchell earned nearly two-thirds of his points with his win at The Honda Classic and T6 at the following week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
Sung Kang followed his AT&T Byron Nelson win with a seventh-place finish at the PGA Championship. It’s his lone top-15 in seven career starts in majors.
Talor Gooch qualified for the Playoffs after starting the season with conditional status. His fourth-place finish at the Desert Classic got him into the Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished third. Those were his lone top-10s of the season, and they came in back-to-back weeks.
Xander Schauffele’s two wins (World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, Sentry Tournament of Champions) were more than two months apart, but they were in back-to-back starts.
Chez Reavie earned nearly half his points for the season with a third-place finish at the U.S. Open and victory at the following week’s Travelers Championship. His showing at Pebble Beach was his first career top-10 in a major, and his Travelers win was his first since 2008.
PERCENTAGE EARNED IN THE FALL
The PGA TOUR season started 10 months ago, and the points accrued last October count the same as those earned last month. The fall tournaments were crucial for several players. Here’s a look at the players who earned the highest percentage of their points in the eight tournaments played in October and November.
Name % earned in fall 64. Cameron Champ 81.5% (521/639) 100. Patrick Rodgers 81.0% (372/459) 103. Sam Ryder 67.9% (311/458) 41. Kevin Tway 66.5% (574/863) 93. J.J. Spaun 64.5% (309/479)
Cameron Champ’s play was the story of the fall. He had two other top-10s in addition to his win at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He was sixth in the FedExCup standings after the fall.
Kevin Tway was the early FedExCup leader after winning the season-opening Safeway Open.
PERCENTAGE EARNED BY MARCH 1
The PGA TOUR travels from the West Coast to Florida in March. It also marks the start of the Season of Championships, with THE PLAYERS taking place in the idle of the month. Here’s a look at who’d earned the highest and lowest percentage of their points when the TOUR headed to the Sunshine State.
First, the players who did the bulk of their work before arriving in Florida:
Name % earned by March 1 64. Cameron Champ 96.7% (619/639) 100. Patrick Rodgers 91.1% (418/459) 34. Phil Mickelson 90.9% (821/903) 47. J.B. Holmes 86.8% (707/815) 88. Branden Grace 77.4% (383/495)
Phil Mickelson has had just one top-30 finish since his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
J.B. Holmes was in contention at The Open, but he only has one top-25 in a stroke play event since winning the Genesis Open.
Now a look at the players who earned the lowest percentage of their points by March 1:
Name % earned by March 1 20. Shane Lowry
0.4% (5/1,137) 85. Henrik Stenson 1.3% (7/523) 36. Rory Sabbatini 6.5% (58/895) 69. Jordan Spieth 7.9% (48/605)
25. Francesco Molinari 9.3% (98/1,054)
Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff were still attending college classes in March, so they would top the list with 0%, but I left them off since they hadn’t even started their pro careers by then.
Shane Lowry won a major and had two other top-3 finishes after the Masters. His only made cut before March was a T62 at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship (which doesn’t have a cut). He missed the cut in four of his first six starts this season, including a 78-73 performance at the Masters. He finished third the next week at the RBC Heritage.
Rory Sabbatini, who finished fourth in the inaugural FedExCup, is seeking his first trip to East Lake sine 2007. He has six top-10s in his last 11 starts, including a T6 at last week’s Wyndham Championship.
Jordan Spieth earned more than half his FedExCup points with three consecutive top-10s in May and June. He didn’t have his first top-25 of the season until the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
POINTS EARNED AFTER THE U.S. OPEN
The summer months are crunch time for players are trying to keep their card. Several players delivered in the clutch. Here’s a look at the players who earned the highest percentage of their points after the U.S. Open. Every player on this list was ranked outside the top 125 after the U.S. Open, but used a strong finishing kick to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs:
Name % earned after U.S. Open
70. Matthew Wolff 100% (602/602) 49. Collin Morikawa 90.7% (702/780) 53. Dylan Frittelli 73.5% (540/735) 43. Nate Lashley 69.0% (577/836) 81. Russell Henley 66.3% (354/534) 123. Andrew Landry 64.4% (250/388) 74. Joaquin Niemann
Wolff, Morikawa, Frittelli and Nate Lashley all won after the U.S. Open, of course. Russell Henley was looking at losing his card until an incredible final round at the John Deere Classic. He shot 61 to finish second to make a large leap from 165th in the FedExCup standings.
Joaquin Niemann was outside the top 125 until back-to-back T5s at the Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Like Henley, Andrew Landry used a high finish at the John Deere Classic to catapult inside the top 125. He was 171st in the FedExCup until finishing third at the Deere and T19 at the Wyndham.