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Fishing For FedEx Cup Millions

Fishing For FedEx Cup Millions

The winner of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is awarded $15M. Just think of what you could do with that kind of cheddar.

Cameron Smith, after pondering this possibility, thought that he would likely buy some more fishing gear.

Seriously, Mister Smith is so financially set in his own mind that he really had no immediate needs nor wants with the potential windfall from a lights out four days at East Lake.

The overall prize money and its payout has undergone some significant changes since the inception of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and we were curious about the details:

  • Initially, prize money for the winner was $10M, but not paid out in total cash
  • Money was placed into tax-deferred retirement accounts, not accessible until age 45
  • Players could however dictate how the money was invested
  • At age 45, players had the option of further deferring payments until age 60
  • Once a player decides to take payments, he gets monthly payments for 5 years

This sounds like one hell of a top up on top of the already excellent PGA Tour pension plan currently in place!

Due to some unforeseen legislative issues with deferred retirement plans, the PGA Tour made some changes in 2008:

  • top 10 finishers were paid mostly with cash, small amount into player’s retirement fund
  • Outside the top 10 finishers, paid entirely into retirements funds

Starting in 2019, the playoff payoff was increased substantially:

  • $15M to the winner, $5M to second, $4M to third, $3M to fourth and so on
  • Winner of the FedEx Cup is awarded a 5-year exemption on tour

Fun fact: after Tiger won in 2007, there was a conservative estimate that if he won 6 more playoffs under the deferred retirement model, he would amass a $1B retirement fund at age 60!

Cam Smith could buy all the lures and fishing rods he wanted, plus a boat, and a lodge on the lake to store everything. Heck, he could even buy the lake.