There will be 125 players teeing up this week at the Northern Trust in New Jersey just hoping they can play well enough to survive the play-offs through to the Tour Championship at the end of September.

For those already in the top-30 in the FedEx Cup standings, that task will be somewhat easier if they can maintain their positions. Of the 125 players contesting this week’s first play-off event, 100 will progress to the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston next week. From there, the top-70 get a start at the BMW Championship, where players will have one last chance to snare a spot in the top-30 bound for the season-ending Tour Championship and play-offs final.

It promises to be an intense four weeks of competition (there is a week off between the BMW and Tour Championships) with some of the most successful players in the short history of the play-offs qualifying to contest this 12th edition.

Americans, as you might expect, have dominated the play-offs during that time, with 29 individual tournament wins and eight FedEx Champions. Australians rank second in terms of tournaments won with four, but are yet to celebrate a $10 million FedEx Cup winner.

Of the players contesting the 2018 play-offs, there are five players who have cashed in more than most at this time of year and could be the ones to watch over the next four events.

Tiger Woods has twice won (2007 & 2009) The FedEx Cup. PHOTO: Getty Images.


FedEx Cup starts: 7.

FedEx Cup Champion: 2 (2007, 2009).

Career FedEx Cup bonus earnings: $25,275,000 (Ranked No.1).

Tiger Woods is making his first start in the FedEx Cup play-offs since 2013 and will take strong recent form into the series.

The 14-time major champion is 30 under for his past 16 competitive rounds, including a final round 64 at the PGA Championship where he finished second to Brooks Koepka.

In the 11-year history of the play-offs, Woods is the only man to claim the Cup twice. If he can make it all the way through to the Tour Championship, he will be a serious contender for the title again and it would seal the deal on a fairy-tale return to the PGA Tour. 

Rory McIlroy won the FedEx Cup in 2016. PHOTO: Getty Images.


FedEx Cup starts: 7.

FedEx Cup Champion: 1 (2016).

Career FedEx Cup bonus earnings: $15,625,000 (Ranked No.2).

Interestingly, the Northern Irishman has contested the same number of playoff series’ as Tiger Woods, and has even recorded the same number of individual tournament wins with three. Yet, Rory remains nearly $10 million in arrears of Woods’ FedEx Cup earnings.

That can all change with four impressive weeks but the jury is still out on McIlroy’s form, which has been up-and-down like a fiddler’s elbow since he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in March.

What is encouraging for the World No.7 is that his scoring has been much better since he bottomed out with an opening round 80 at the US Open. In the 19 tournament rounds he has played since, he has had only two rounds over 70 and is averaging 68.38 for the same period.