(Updates with comments from PGA Tour Commissioner Finchem beginning in fourth paragraph.)
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- FedEx Corp., the second-largest U.S. package-shipping company, signed a five-year extension to sponsor the PGA Tour’s playoff system known as the FedEx Cup, keeping a $10 million prize for the champion.
The agreement extends FedEx’s commitment through the 2017 season, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said on a media conference call from Marana, Arizona, site of this week’s World Golf Championships Match Play event.
The playoffs, which were formed in 2007, will continue to offer $35 million in total bonus money to golfers based on their finish in the season-long competition, including $10 million to the FedEx Cup winner.
“We’ve seen it grow, it’s become a big part of what the PGA Tour is about and it’s had the effect of pulling our season together,” Finchem said. “We’re going to try to make some adjustments in the next couple years with the FedEx Cup in an even more impactful way.”
While the prize money remains the same currently, Finchem said it probably will increase over the course of the extension.
“How that plays out in terms of the distribution of dollars, we’re not sure, but we’ll certainly be going forward, not backward,” he said. “Financially to the players, we will be growing during this term.”
Tiger Woods won the first two FedEx Cup titles, followed by Vijay Singh in 2009, Jim Furyk in 2010 and Bill Haas last year.
Haas won the season-ending Tour Championship with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff and said he didn’t initially realize he had also won the FedEx Cup’s $10 million bonus. He finished with 2,760 points, 15 more than runner-up Webb Simpson, who won the second of the four playoff events.
Michael Glenn, FedEx’s executive vice president of market development, said his company is pleased with the playoff format and that there may be room for change.
“We’ve made tremendous progress in the point system over the last several years,” Glenn said. “I can only point to the last two years when we saw the winner change shot by shot on Sunday, which is what FedEx would really like to have happen every year. I don’t know how much more drama we can get.”
This year’s FedEx Cup playoffs begin Aug. 23-26 with The Barclays tournament at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, New York. Next is the Deutsche Bank Championship the following week outside Boston and the BMW Championship on Sept. 6-9 in Carmel, Indiana. The Tour Championship is scheduled for Sept. 20-23 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
The extension with FedEx comes one month after Finchem, who has been commissioner since 1994, received a four-year contract extension. Finchem helped the PGA Tour reach nine-year television agreements in September with CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC.
“It is a nice addition to the things that have been happening that lay out our future in a very positive way and allow us to build the tour both domestically and internationally,” Finchem said of the agreement with FedEx.
FedEx has been a PGA Tour partner since 1986, when it became title sponsor of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in the company’s home city of Memphis, Tennessee.
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