- Tour Championship
The Tour Championship is a 72-hole stroke play competition played as an end of season event on the PGA Tour and it historically featured the top 30 players on the money list for that year. The Calamity Jane Trophy is a sterling silver replica of Bobby Jones’s original "Calamity Jane" putter which has been presented to the winner of the tournament since 2005. Champions before that year have been awarded one retrospectively.
Starting in 2007 with the introduction of the FedEx Cup, the 30 players with the most qualifying points throughout the season now participate in this final PGA Tour event, having just come through two eliminating competitions – the Northern Trust and BMW Championship – weeks earlier in the playoff series to reduce the starting numbers from 125 to 70 then 30.
The tournament adopted a new format in 2019, to give the players with the most FedEx Cup points a better chance of winning the event. The points leader after the first two playoff events begins the Tour Championship at 10-under par. The No. 2 player starts at 8 under. The No. 3 player tees up at 7 under, and so on until players ranked 26-30 begin the competition at even par.
The golfer with the lowest aggregate score over 72 holes when combined with his FedEx Cup Starting Strokes wins the Tour Championship and is also crowned FedEx Cup champion. The Tour Championship win is considered an official victory and the FedEx Cup champion also earns a bonus of fifteen million dollars and a five-year PGA Tour exemption.
The inaugural competition was called the Nabisco Championship and dates back to 1987 at Oak Hills Country Club in Texas, when Tom Watson won $360,000 for finishing two strokes ahead of Chip Beck with a 12-under-par aggregate of 268 shots. It was the first PGA Tour win for Watson in three years and he’d have to wait another nine years for his next, at the Memorial Tournament in 1996.
The Tour Championship was staged at three different clubs in the next three seasons and each of those events ended in a playoff: Curtis Strange overcame Tom Kite at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 1988; Tom Kite bounced back the following year to beat Payne Stewart at Harbour Town; then Jodie Mudd’s birdie on the first extra hole at Champions Golf Club in Texas against Billy Mayfair gave him his fourth and final victory on the PGA Tour.
Three clubs then hosted the tournament, each for two consecutive years.
The Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina saw yet another playoff result after 72 holes in 1991, with Craig Stadler capturing his first PGA Tour scalp since winning the Byron Nelson seven years previously. The No. 2 course was then the scene for Paul Azinger’s triumph over the field 12 months later, carding an eight under par aggregate total of 276 to lead his nearest challengers by three strokes.
Olympic Club in California was the next location for the Tour Championship. Jim Gallagher Jr. held off his four main rivals to clinch the title by one stroke in 1993 then Mark McCumber’s birdie on the first extra hole of his playoff with Fuzzy Zouller a year further on earned him his tenth and last success on the PGA Tour.
Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma became the seventh venue for the event in 1995 and 1996. The first year, Billy Mayfair made up for the disappointment of losing the 1990 playoff with a 3-stroke win then a year later Tom Lehman added the Tour Championship to The Open Championship he’d won at Royal Lytham & St Annes three months earlier.
East Lake Golf Club in Georgia finally joined the tournament roster in 1998, with Hal Sutton edging out Vijay Singh in a playoff to add the Tour Championship title to the Texas Open he’d won five weeks before. The Cypress Creek course at Champions Golf Club then alternated with East Lake as host venue for the contest for a few years before it finally settled in Atlanta in 2004, when South Africa’s Retief Goosen was crowned champion.
In the FedEx Cup era, Tiger Woods has won the event twice (2007 and 2018), as has Rory McIlroy (2016 and 2019), and prize money on offer has risen from 7 million dollars in 2007 to an astonishing 45 million dollars in 2020, with that year’s winner Dustin Johnston pocketing a cool $15 million.
Tour Championship Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy