The PGA Tour’s ‘Fall’ slate begins this week with the Fortinet Championship. However, for the first time in a decade, the autumn series does not signal the start of the tour’s regular season. And that will be far from the only change fans will see over the coming months.

Re-engineered as “The FedEx Cup Fall”, this part of the tour’s calendar is essentially its own campaign, and though this time of the year is historically golf’s sleepy stretch, it now has more significance. Here are nine questions and answers you need to know about the new season:

So the wrap-around season is done?

Yes. In 2013, the PGA Tour began its new “season” in the American autumn, with the tour year stretching across two calendar years. But in April the tour announced its next season would start at the 2024 Sentry (formerly the Tournament of Champions) during the first week of January. The top 70 players off the 2023 FedEx Cup points list at the end of the regular season qualified for the 2023 playoffs (which concluded at the Tour Championship) and guaranteed their full playing status for 2024. The 50 players who reached the second playoff event at the BMW Championship are also exempt into 2024’s ‘signature’ events, a series of eight tournaments with limited fields, no cuts and $US20 million prizemoney payouts.

What’s on the line then?

Players who failed to qualify for the playoffs will now have to play in the FedEx Cup Fall to retain or regain their playing status for 2024. All FedEx Cup points from the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season carry over to the autumn, with those inside the top 125 at the end of the fall earning full status for next season.

Additionally, the top 10 players on the points list at the end of this stretch of events who are not already qualified for the 2024 signature events will earn a spot into the first two after the Sentry, which will be the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational. Though players who finished 51st to 70th on the FedEx Cup points list have already earned their status next season, they can use the fall series to snag the signature event spots.

The points earned in the fall, however, will not carry over to the 2024 FedEx Cup list.

Does winning a fall event still deliver the same perks?

Mostly. Though points don’t transfer over to the next calendar season, winners of fall events will continue to receive a two-year tour exemption and invites to the Masters, PGA Championship, the Players Championship and the Sentry. The seven fall events also offer a collective $US56 million in prize money.

Can top 50 players still compete?

Yes. Though they will not be awarded any FedEx Cup points, those in the top 50 can play this northern autumn. For example, the Fortinet Championship’s field has five top 50 players: Sahith Theegala, Andrew Putnam, Eric Cole, Brendon Todd and two-time defending Fortinet champion Max Homa. Aside from trying to stay sharp, the top-50 crew can still win prizemoney and accrue Official World Golf Ranking points.

Photo: Richard Heathcote

Who are some of the higher-profile players we’ll likely see?

Justin Thomas, who was the first man out of the playoffs (71st), is scheduled to play in the Fortinet before heading over to the Ryder Cup in Rome. Will Zalatoris might also make a few starts in the American autumn as he returns from a back injury. Rising star Akshay Bhatia secured his 2024 card by winning the Barracuda Championship but didn’t make the postseason due to an odd membership ruling, so don’t be surprised if he competes quite a lot to earn his way into the signature events. Other notable players you may see during these seven events include Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Joel Dahmen and Billy Horschel.

What about Korn Ferry Tour players?

Fall fields have historically been filled by those who just earned their memberships off the tour’s developmental circuit. However, past Korn Ferry Tour Finals have ended before the new PGA Tour season began; the 2023 KFT Finals don’t end until October 8. Those who finish in the KFT top 30 will earn full PGA Tour status in 2024.

Has the schedule changed?

Slightly. Last year’s September-to-November calendar had 10 events, nine of which were played (the WGC–HSBC Champions was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions for the third straight year). This year’s autumn slate has seven events, with the following dates:

September 14-17: Fortinet Championship – Silverado Resort, Napa, California
October 5-8: Sanderson Farms Championship – Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Mississippi
October 12-15: Shriners Children’s Open – TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
October 19-22: Zozo Championship – Accordia Golf Narashino, Chiba, Japan
November 2-5: World Wide Technology Championship – El Cardonal, Los Cabos, Mexico
November 9-12: Butterfield Bermuda Championship – Port Royal, Southampton, Bermuda
November 16-19: RSM Classic – Sea Island Golf Club, St Simons Island, Georgia

What happens to those that don’t finish inside the top 125 at the end of the fall?

A similar fate to missing the playoffs in previous seasons. Those ranked 126th to 150th will have conditional status on tour, which will still secure a number of starts during the season. Additionally, those outside the top 125 can still earn or improve their status through the PGA Tour’s Q-School, which returns for the first time since 2012. The top five finishers and ties from the final stage of Q-School will be exempt for the 2024 season.

Is the tour’s 2023 ‘season’ officially over after the RSM Classic?

No. After a trip to Sea Island the tour will then conduct its “challenge” season, which are exhibitions at the Hero World Challenge, the Grant Thornton Invitational and the PNC Championship. However, results in these events do not offer the same benefits as regular or fall season events.

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