Ten years after the institution of a playoff system, the annual PGA Tour Championship has become one of the most sought-after and fought-over titles in all of golf. The season-long points race warms up gradually over the long PGA Tour season, but it all comes to a head at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Your 2017 Tour Championship tickets give you ring-side seats to the battle for the $10 million FedEx Cup and a place in history as PGA Tour champion.
Only the cream of the crop on Tour get an invite to East Lake. Players receive points for results in tour events and, at the end of the season, the top 125 retain their Tour card and get an invite to the playoffs. The field is whittled down in four prestigious tournaments, culminating in a showdown of the remaining 30 players at East Lake. Only the best of the best make it there, and only the hottest player finishes on top. Who will outlast his peers and find victory in Atlanta? Immerse yourself in the action at the 2017 Tour Championship.
The PGA Tour Championship began in 1987, and it was exclusive from its start. The top-30 money winners on Tour were invited to a season-ending tournament, and a Tour champion was crowned. The event was the culmination of the season and, after it was finished, the money list was finalized. At that time, the PGA Tour only granted the top 125 money winners a Tour card for the next season, so every dollar counted in every tournament.
Despite the stakes, the Tour Championship never gained traction with the public in its early years. To drum up interest in golf fans after the season’s majors had been decided, the PGA Tour partnered with Federal Express in 2007 to institute a season-long points race and a playoff system, in line with other professional sports. The Tour made changes to the playoff system in 2008, granting more points for playoff performance. Thus, the hottest players at the end of the season have a chance to overcome early-season slumps.
The Tour Playoffs begin their three-week stretch of cutthroat golf at The Northern Trust, which is contested at different venues around New York each year. From 125 at The Northern Trust, the field is cut to 100 players for the Dell Technologies Championship, held annually at TPC Boston. From Boston, the top 70 remaining players move on to the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. From there it’s on to East Lake and a shot at glory for the top 30 players left standing.
There are no sponsor’s exemptions; no alternates hoping to sneak into the field. There is only one way in and only one can win it all. Sure, there are still possibilities to win the FedEx Cup without winning the Tour Championship, but that hasn’t happened since Phil Mickelson (Tour Champion) and Tiger Woods (FedEx Cup Champion) split the titles in 2009, the year after the first overhaul of the points system. As it is today, the playoffs are a winner-take-all brawl for the prestige — and the riches —that goes with being crowned Tour Champion.