The TOUR Championship: Three 2023 FedEx Cup Storylines

It All Comes Down To This

The PGA Tour season comes to an end this weekend when the 2023 FedEx Cup champion will be crowned at the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. After starting with a field of 70 players two weeks ago at The FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee, the FedEx Cup Playoffs will culminate this Sunday and there’s a lot on the line.

This 2022-2023 PGA Tour season marks the 17th edition of the season-long FedEx Cup and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. In all, there were 47 regular season PGA Tour events that counted toward Tour players’ 2023 FedEx Cup cumulative points balance beginning with last September’s Fortinet Championship and ending with The Wyndham Championship earlier this month.

During the regular season, Tour players earned points based on their performance at each tournament with the highest points going to the winner and top finishers. At each regular season event, a 2023 FedEx Cup tournament winner was awarded 500 points with additional points awarded to the remaining competitors on a tiered basis. After The Wyndham Championship in early August, the Tour had narrowed down the final field of 70 players that qualified to compete for the FedEx Cup Championship.

Being in that group of 70 is a huge deal for Tour members as it guarantees them Top-125 status for next season which makes them exempt for all 2023-2024 full-field events and earns them a spot in THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Since the end of the regular season, the PGA Tour has held the first two FedEx Cup Playoffs events. The first event, the FedEx St. Jude Championship, was held in Memphis from August 10th – 13th, and long-time Tour member Lucas Glover captured the title. Winners of FedEx Cup Playoffs events quadrupled the number of points as a regular season win so Glover left Memphis 2,000 points stronger in the standings.

But there’s more at stake than just winning at The St. Jude Championship as the playoff field was narrowed down yet again. This time to the top 50 players (based on accumulated points) and they qualified for last week’s BMW Championship in Chicago. These 50 players secured themselves some huge guarantees for next season as they automatically qualify for the Tour’s eight “Signature” events which feature larger purses and more points than a standard regular season tournament. The eight Signature events are:

• The Sentry (Jan. 1-7)
• AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Jan. 29-Feb. 4)
• The Genesis Invitational (Feb. 12-18)
• Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard (March 4-10)
• RBC Heritage (April 15-21)
• Wells Fargo Championship (May 6-12)
• The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday (June 3-9)
• Travelers Championship (June 17-23)

After the BMW Championship, won last week by Viktor Hovland, the FedEx Cup Championship field was narrowed for the final time. This time from 50 down to 30 qualifiers for this week’s TOUR Championship where the winner will take home the 2023 FedEx Cup.

The FedEx Cup Playoffs culminate in the Tour Championship, the final event of the PGA Tour season. This prestigious tournament features the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings, who compete for the title and a significant prize purse. Held at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, the Tour Championship provides thrilling golf action and determines the ultimate winner of the FedEx Cup, a coveted honor in professional golf.

FedEx Cup Championship

What’s at stake this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta? Just a top prize of $18 million and a five-year Tour exemption to the winner PGA Payout. But if you’re in this exclusive group of 30 in many ways you’ve already won. All qualifiers go home with at least $500,000 in prize money. They also receive a two-year Tour exemption, an automatic invitation to next year’s Masters, and most likely invitations to next year’s US Open and The Open.


How Will The 2023 TOUR Championship Be Determined?

2023 TOUR Championship

The Tour Championship features an interesting, and often controversial, scoring system by which players start with staggered scores, called FedEx Cup Starting Strokes, based on their cumulative points balance from the season.

The FedExCup points leader after the first two Playoff events will begin the TOUR Championship at 10-under par. The No. 2 player will start at 8-under. The No. 3 player starts at 7-under; the No. 4 player starts at 6-under; the No. 5 player starts at 5-under. Players 6-10 start at 4-under; players 11-15 start at 3-under; players 16-20 start at 2-under; players 21-25 start at 1-under; and players 26-30 start at even par.


Storylines to Watch

For the 2nd straight year, Scottie Scheffler will arrive at the 2023 TOUR Championship with the most FedEx Cup points and a two-stroke lead on his closest competitor. Last year, Scheffler entered the final round with a six-stroke lead only to end up losing by one to Rory McIlroy. Will Scheffler have better luck this year?

And what about defending FedEx Cup champion McIlroy? Does he have what it takes to repeat and win his 4th FedEx Cup? Rory is already the only man with three FedEx Cups and a 4th would set him well clear of the field. However, word broke late this week that McIlroy had suffered a back injury in recent days and was experiencing muscle soreness. Will that keep the trophy out of his hands?

defending FedEx Cup champion McIlroy

For several other players, this week is about more than just a FedEx Cup Championship as The Ryder Cup is just a few weeks away and several American players remain in contention for one of US Captain Zach Johnson’s six captain’s picks.

“Six golfers have already automatically qualified: Scheffler, Schauffele, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay and Max Homa. Captain Zach Johnson will officially select the other six on Tuesday. That leaves East Lake as the last event for many Americans to prove they deserve to go to Rome this September. The list of potential candidates that will play this week is long: Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley, Tony Finau, Sam Burns, Lucas Glover, and Russell Henley are all potential picks.”

This weekend’s 2023 TOUR Championship will feature plenty of drama as 30 of the game’s best duel it out for the biggest purse in golf. All 30 Tour players have already cemented a season they’ll remember forever but come Sunday one will be immortalized in the history books of the PGA Tour.

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