GOLF: AUG 27 PGA - TOUR Championship
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The PGA Tour is set to return after a two-week hiatus, though this year's reemergence for a seven-tournament fall slate looks quite different than in past years. Because the Tour is moving to a more streamlined season that starts in January, there is an interim period during which tournaments will be played, and the format has left many fans quite confused. This series of tournaments has been dubbed the FedEx Cup Fall and has real implications on how next season unfolds and flows into the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Just as is the case every fall regardless of scheduling adjustments, there is a lot to learn and follow over the next few months, starting with this week's Fortinet Championship. After that, there will be a short break preceding the Ryder Cup and then it's onto a busy October-November stretch. So, let's take a look at what tournaments will be played, who will be participating and, probably most importantly, what it all means for the 2024 PGA Tour season.

Schedule of events

  • Fortinet Championship -- Sept. 14-17
  • Sanderson Farms Championship -- Oct. 5-8
  • Shriners Children's Open -- Oct. 12-15
  • Zozo Championship -- Oct. 19-22
  • World Wide Technology Championship -- Nov. 2-5
  • Butterfield Bermuda Championship -- Nov. 9-12
  • RSM Classic -- Nov. 16-19

The Houston Open has moved back to March and will be part of a mini-Texas swing just before the Masters. The CJ Cup has also been eliminated from the fall slate after six years and playing experiences in South Korea, Las Vegas and South Carolina. Add it all up over $56 million in purses will be available for players to unlock this fall.

Field strength

While that's a lot of money, there are questions about who exactly is going to play in these tournaments. The top 50 players in last season's FedEx Cup (i.e. everyone who advanced to the BMW Championship in the second round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs) have already secured playing privileges in the lucrative eight-event signature event series of 2024. There is nothing any of them can do to improve or un-improve their status for next season.

However, there is a decent list of players outside that top 50 that is trying to play their way in. That group includes Justin Thomas (who is playing at the Fortinet Championship this week), Keith Mitchell, Adam Scott, Shane Lowry and Billy Horschel. Players are not just playing for entry into signature events, though. Motivation also includes Official World Golf Rankings points, money, vacation locales and, in the case of the Fortinet this week, Max Homa is playing because he is the reigning champion.

What's at Stake

Now we get to the good stuff. While the Scottie Schefflers and Rory McIlroys of the world -- with their signature event status locked up -- are prepping for the Ryder Cup and a potentially extensive list of vacation spots thereafter, everyone else is fighting to get into the small-field, big-money events of 2024. That signature events list includes the following tournaments. 

  • The Sentry
  • Pebble Beach Pro-Am
  • Genesis Invitational
  • Arnold palmer Invitational
  • RBC Heritage
  • Wells Fargo Championship
  • Memorial Tournament
  • Travelers Championship

While The Sentry is limited to winners from last season, as well as other golfers who finished in the top 50 of the final FedEx Cup standings (i.e. made it to the BMW Championship), Pebble is the first spot where the FedEx Cup Fall comes into play. The top 10 from the FedEx Cup Fall standings will gain entrance into this tournament as well as the Genesis Invitational two weeks later.

Because FedEx Cup points will carry over from the 2022-23 regular season into the FedEx Cup Fall, we already have a current top 10 in the FedEx Cup rankings which you can view in the table below. 

Fedex 2023 RankFedEx Fall RankNamePoints
511Mackenzie Hughes911
522Nick Hardy902
533Taylor Montgomery889
544Alex Smalley880
555Thomas Detry870
566Stephan Jaeger860
577Brandon Wu829
588Beau Hossler826
599Davis Riley812
6010Hayden Buckley779

So, even though these golfers just missed out on making the top 50 last season, they have a head start on everyone when it comes to finishing in the top 10 this fall and making it to Pebble as well as the Genesis Invitational. The top 50 players in last season's FedEx Cup standings can play fall events, but they do not factor into these fall standings as they've already secured entrance into the signature events for 2024.

Even more at stake

Additionally, five other golfers will gain entrance into Pebble based on play at the Sony Open, American Express and Farmers Insurance Open. The top five FedEx Cup point-earners from those three events will play Pebble. However, to even be eligible for Sony and the events thereafter, you have to retain your PGA Tour card -- which is the other part of this fall's drama. Previously, players retained or lost their cards at the Wyndham Championship in August, but this time around it will be at the RSM Classic in November.

The top 125 after that tournament will keep their Tour cards while those who just missed out will lose them unless they have other playing privileges (career exemptions etc.) that gain them entry into the events on the 2024 PGA Tour schedule.