How Does The PGA Tour Work? [Season Explained]

Not to be confused with the USGA and the PGA, the PGA Tour is the biggest professional golf tour in the world, with the best golfers competing each week for iconic trophies and huge prize money.

So how does it actually work? In this article, we’ll walk you through the PGA Tour season and how it works.

How Does PGA Tour Work

How Does The PGA Tour Work?

How Does The PGA Tour Season Work?

The PGA Tour season runs from September until August the following year and features a total of 47 FedEx Cup events.

44 of the scheduled events are part of the regular season and include the four major events, as well as The Players Championship.

The final 3 events of the season are known as the FedEx Cup Playoffs, where the PGA Tour golfer with the highest number of FedEx Cup points will be crowned the FedEx Cup champion.

The season starts in September and each week the number of golfers competing varies between 144 and 156. Not every week is a full PGA Tour event, with FedEx Cup points available, however, most weeks will have a golf tournament.

Each PGA Tour event, as part of the regular FedEx Cup season, is worth points. These points go towards the final standings and help players rise or fall in the rankings.

Most official PGA Tour events are worth 500 points to the winner, with points decreasing depending on the player’s finishing position for the tournament. This also includes a co-sanctioned event on the DP World Tour (European Tour), the Scottish Open, which is worth 500 points.

Points are given out to any player that makes the cut, with 2nd place gaining 300 points, and 3rd place picking up 190 points, reducing all the way down to the bottom of the field who made the cut.

There’s also a few PGA Tour events where the 1st place receives 550 points. The following events are 550-point events:

  • World Golf Championships events
  • Sentry Tournament of Champions (which includes the longest par 5 on the tour)
  • The Genesis Invitational
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • Memorial Tournament

Other golf tournaments which aren’t seen as full PGA Tour events on the schedule are only worth 300 points for the winner and are part of the strategic alliance between both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. These events include:

  • Barbasol Championship
  • Barracuda Championship

The most amount of points available to the winner in the regular season is at the majors and The Players Championship.

The Open Championship, US Open Championship, PGA Championship and The Masters tournament are all worth 600 FedEx Cup points, as well as the “5th” major and flagship event on the PGA Tour, The Players Championship.

Each week professional golfers will compete to try and gain as many FedEx Cup points as possible. After the final event in the regular season, the PGA Tour will then go into the FedEx Cup Playoffs in early August.

Although the top 125 players in the rankings will keep their tour cards for the next season, only the top 70 will progress to the first of 3 events in the Playoffs. Those outside the top 125 for the season will lose their full playing rights on the PGA Tour for next season.

The points system for the Playoffs is different to the regular season, with far more on offer and a greater emphasis on good scoring late on the season.

The winner of the first Playoff event will gain 2000 points (4 times as many as a regular season event). The top 50 players in the rankings after this tournament played will move on to the second event which is also worth 2000 points to the winner.

Finally, the top 30 players in the standings will progress to the Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup Playoffs Finale. The Tour Championship is different to the other season-ending golf events, in that it starts with a staggered start using Starting Strokes.

Starting Strokes means that players will start round 1 on a score based on how they’re sitting in the final top 30 rankings. The leading player in the FedEx Cup rankings will start at 10 under for the Tour Championship before even hitting a shot. Number 2 in the standings at 8 under, and so on, all the way down to the bottom 5 players who’ll start on even par.

Like other professional tournaments, after four rounds, the golfer who comes out top of the rankings will be crowned the FedEx Cup Champion, which includes a huge prize bonus.

What Are The PGA Tour Standings?

The PGA Tour has a rankings system which runs throughout the season and is known as the FedEx Cup Standings.

These rankings are used to keep track of which professional golfers are playing well and having a good season, compared to others who might be struggling to get good results.

Each week, players will earn points based on how well they did in tournaments played, with better results earning more points.

At the end of the season, the number of FedEx Cup points a player has, will determine whether or not they keep their playing rights for next season and whether they’ll be eligible for the end-of-season Playoff events.

Those players ranked in the top 125 of the rankings will be guaranteed a PGA Tour card for next season. Those outside the top 125, will most likely end up playing on the Korn Ferry Tour (the 2nd tier tour to the PGA Tour) or they will need to go through PGA Tour qualifying.

Those within the top 70 in the rankings will be eligible to progress to the final Playoff events.

Final Thoughts

The PGA Tour is the place every single golfer dreams of reaching. It’s the biggest and best tour in the world, with the best golfers competing week in and week out in some of the most prestigious tournaments.

The FedEx Cup is the main element of the PGA Tour and with that comes very lucrative returns, but as a result, PGA Tour cards are very difficult to come by.

The PGA Tour is set up to provide drama all year long but puts an emphasis on having a great finish to the season. With so many points on offer at the final PGA tournaments, as long as a player qualifies in the top 70, they can very easily have a run and end up becoming FedEx Cup champion.


Is the Masters part of the PGA Tour?

The Masters is an official PGA Tour event during the regular season with full FedEx Cup points available, however, it is organised by Augusta National Golf Club and not the PGA Tour.

Are the majors part of the PGA Tour?

All four of the major championships are part of the PGA Tour and all have 600 points on the offer to the winners. Each major is organised by a separate organisation, but the events are still included in the PGA Tour season.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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