PGA and its FedEx Cup Playoffs

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The modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland. The 18-hole round was created at the Old Course at St. Andrews in 1764. Urban legend has it that a whisky bottle has 18 shots of liquor and that is the reason a golf round was 18 holes. The real reason dates to 1764 at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, where the course initially featured twelve holes. Golfers played ten of these holes in one direction and then played them in reverse, totaling 22 holes. Later, four of these holes were combined into two, establishing the standard 18-hole course that we recognize in golf today.

Creation of the PGA

The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) was established in the United States in 1916 at the instigation of Rodman Wanamaker, a Philadelphia businessman. Wanamaker wanted to promote the interests of professional golf and increase the welfare of its members. The inaugural PGA Championship took place in October 1916 at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. Jim Barnes emerged victorious, earning $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal, generously donated by Rodman Wanamaker.

First International Tournament

The first international match between professional golfers from Great Britain and the United States was held on June 6, 1921, at Gleneagles in Scotland. The year before, the Glasgow Herald had sponsored a tournament in the week leading up to the Open Championship, offering a prize fund of £650, which was a record at that time. In 1921, this prize fund increased to 1,000 guineas (£1,050), a substantial sum that drew the top players from both sides of the Atlantic.

The Emergence of the Superstars

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the name Jack Nicklaus became synonymous with the PGA, cementing himself as the face of professional golf. With the advent of color television and the widespread presence of TVs in households, watching the final round of a tournament became a Sunday tradition.

The Global Impact

The mid-1990s saw the rise of one of the most influential figures in the history of golf, Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. He revolutionized the game with his dominant victory in the 1997 Masters Tournament, winning by 12 strokes—a record that still stands. Golf courses had to adapt, increasing yardage as players began hitting the ball further thanks to better preparation and technological advancements.

Advances in Technology

Taylor-Made was the pioneering company in producing metal-headed wood for golf clubs. However, metal club heads did not become widely popular until Callaway launched the Big Bertha in 1991. The Big Bertha driver featured an oversized metal club head, a first in the industry. This innovation set the trend for other club manufacturers to follow, leading to the widespread adoption of oversized metal club heads. This groundbreaking new driver allowed players to hit the ball longer due to its larger sweet spot, which increased forgiveness for mishits.

Implementation of the FedEx Cup

The PGA implemented the FedEx Cup for the 2007 season, marking the first time men’s professional golf had a playoff system. The first part of the season is known as the “regular season,” starting in October and culminating in three events called the “playoffs” in August. These three events are: FedEx St. Jude Championship for the top 70 points leaders, followed by the BMW Championship for the top 50 points leaders, and culminating with the Tour Championship for the top 30 points leaders.

18th Edition of the FedEx Cup

The PGA Playoffs are set to return to a calendar-year schedule for the first time since 2012. The prize pool is the biggest in history at $100 million, with $25 million reserved for the champion. The 2024 PGA Tour season will include 39 official events, including 36 FedEx Cup Regular Season events, and four major championships: the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and the Open Championship.

Scheffler’s Dominating Season

Currently, American Scottie Scheffler is having a season to remember with five wins, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill with a 15-under par score, the lowest since 2018. He followed this with The Players Championship, becoming the first back-to-back winner in the event’s history. Scheffler won the prestigious Masters Tournament at the legendary Augusta Golf Course in Georgia for the second time in three years, making him the fourth-youngest player to have two Masters victories. One week after his second green jacket, Scheffler won the RBC Heritage for his fourth win in five starts. He continued his dominant pace by winning the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday. He has a commanding lead in the FedEx Cup standings with 1,662 points over PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele at Valhalla Golf Club.

What are the Odds for the Winner?

Scheffler’s dominance has not gone unnoticed by sportsbooks. His odds for winning the FedEx Cup currently stand at 1/1. He is followed by Rory McIlroy at 8/1, Viktor Hovland at 40/1, and Xander Schauffele at 5/1. Sports betting enthusiasts can follow all the live action in the comfort of their own homes with various devices.

The Upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs

The first playoff event is the FedEx St. Jude Championship, taking place from August 12-18 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. From there, the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup standings advance to the BMW Championship (August 19-25), contested for the first time at Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock, Colorado. The season will conclude with the Tour Championship, where the top 30 will move on to the season-ending event at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where the FedEx Cup champion will be crowned and awarded a record $25 million bonus.

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