PGA Tour Players Make Money in Offseason
In the six weeks since the PGA Tour season officially ended at the Tour Championship, there have been 11 tournaments around the world with prize money topping $22 million.
The total purse on the PGA Tour wasn't that high 20 years ago, when the Skins Game was created and paved the way for the silly season ' events that don't count toward the world ranking or history but offer money that still spends the same.
Instead of recharging their batteries, more players are reloading their bank accounts.
Colin Montgomerie was in South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge, competing against Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia. The next week he was in California for the Target World Challenge, playing against Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
``To be invited to these events is a thrill,'' Montgomerie said.
That wasn't the only lure. Simply showing up was worth $150,000 in Sun City and $130,000 at Sherwood Country Club.
``Yes, well, there is the thing about money,'' Monty said, breaking into a broad smile.
Fred Couples knows that all too well. He has been ridiculed as the ``King of the Silly Season,'' and Couples laughs all the way to the bank.
``I'm one to realize the importance of some of these events,'' Couples said. ``Obviously, winning it means you make some money.''
Couples played in only two PGA Tour events all summer. Then the silly season arrived, and he played three times in three weeks, pocketing $280,000.
The joke is on those watching from home.
``The people who make fun of it aren't playing it,'' Rich Beem said. ``I know, because I used to be the guy making fun of it.''
Beem's victory in the PGA Championship made him an overnight celebrity and earned him invitations to four silly-season events.
He won the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge ($167,000) with Jim Furyk and John Daly, won the Hyundai Team Matches ($100,000) with Peter Lonard, then finished last in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf ($150,000) and last in the Target World Challenge ($130,000).
Do the math.
With no heavy lifting involved, Beem cashed in for $547,000. That's 18 percent of what he earned in 32 official tournaments worldwide this year.
And Beem didn't even finish in the top five on the silly-season money list.
First place went to Els, even though he played only once in the offseason. Els won the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, which is no longer called the ``Million Dollar Challenge'' because the winner now gets $2 million.
Talk about the Big Easy.
His $2 million payoff was more than half of what Els won during the regular season.
No one took advantage of the silly season quite like Mark O'Meara, even though he has not won an official tournament since the 1998 British Open.
O'Meara got into the UBS Warburg Cup because of his age (45). He got into the Skins Game through a sponsorship deal (Toyota). He played in the Target World Challenge because his best buddy is the tournament host (Woods). He also played in the Shark Shootout.
His tally in four events: $775,000.
That's not a bad haul for a month of work, especially considering that O'Meara made only $730,132 in 24 events on the PGA Tour this year.
Another big winner was Padraig Harrington, who had his best year by earning $2.6 million, then made half that much in three unofficial events. He won the Target World Challenge, finished 11th in South Africa and tied for eighth with Paul McGinley in the World Cup.
Woods didn't exactly suffer.
He made $1,025,000 for seven rounds of golf: two at the PGA Grand Slam, one at the Skins Game, and a real marathon ' four rounds ' at his Target World Challenge.
That computes to $8,134.92 for every hole he played in the silly season, which is more than last-place money at most 72-hole events on the PGA Tour.
Even Phil Mickelson got in on the act. He won $695,000 in three events, despite hitting the ball all over the map in the first two tournaments.
The silly season isn't a complete joke.
The variety of formats ' stroke play, match play, team events, fathers and sons ' adds entertainment value. And some guys can build confidence going into the new season.
Just ask Harrington, who withstood a back-nine charge from Woods at Sherwood. There was nothing silly about that, even though it doesn't count as an official victory.
``I count it,'' the Irishman said. ``Against Tiger? Yes. Against a world-class field? Yes.''
Don't blame these guys for playing. Success in regular tournaments is what gets them into the silly season, a century-old practice. In the early 1900s, players wanted to win majors so they could play for big money in golf exhibitions.
Today's silly season stars have earned the right to take free money.
More power to them.
Watson back in top 40 after OWGR free fall
Bubba Watson ended his free fall in the Official World Golf Ranking with a two-shot victory Sunday at the Genesis Open.
Watson, a fixture in the top 10 in the world as recently as 13 months ago, had dropped all the way to 117th after a 2017 season in which he struggled with poor form, illness and desire.
After his third career win at Riviera, he is up to 40th.
Kevin Na rose from 95th to 65th after tying for second in Los Angeles, while Tony Finau jumped from 41st to 33rd.
Tiger Woods actually improved in the world ranking, from No. 550 to No. 544, despite a missed cut at the Genesis Open.
On the European Tour, Joost Luiten surged from 90th to 68th after his victory in Oman.
The top 10 in the world remained unchanged as the PGA Tour heads into the Florida swing: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy.
Bubba catapults, Phil creeps up in Ryder Cup standings
Bubba Watson was an assistant on the 2016 Ryder Cup team. He doesn’t want to be driving a cart in Paris.
Watson, thanks to his victory in the Genesis Open, jumped from 60th to 10th in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings. The top eight after the PGA Championship qualify automatically for this year’s edition at Le Golf National in France.
Phil Mickelson moved up one spot to 11th after tying for sixth at Riviera Country Club.
Players will receive one point per dollar earned in regular events this year, with 1.5 points per dollar in majors and two points per dollar for winning a major. Here's a look at the current U.S. standings:
1. Dustin Johnson
2. Brooks Koepka
3. Justin Thomas
4. Jordan Spieth
5. Matt Kuchar
6. Brian Harman
7. Gary Woodland
8. Rickie Fowler
9. Chez Reavie
10. Bubba Watson
11. Phil Mickelson
12. Patrick Reed
On the European side, the top four players from the Ryder Cup points list will be joined by the top four qualifiers from the world points list, with captain Thomas Bjorn making four additional selections. Here's a look at the current top names:
Ryder Cup Points
1. Justin Rose
2. Tyrrell Hatton
3. Ross Fisher
4. Matthew Fitzpatrick
1. Jon Rahm
2. Tommy Fleetwood
3. Sergio Garcia
4. Rory McIlroy
Genesis Open purse payout: Bubba makes bank
Bubba Watson won the Genesis Open for a third time on Sunday, moving his career PGA Tour win total to 10. Here's a look at how the purse paid out at Riviera Country Club.
|T26||Rafael Cabrera Bello||-2||$46,996|
|T37||Charles Howell III||-1||$33,120|
|T60||Harold Varner, III||3||$15,696|
|T68||Tyrone van Aswegen||7||$14,400|
After Further Review: Haas crash strikes a chord
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the horrifying car crash involving Bill Haas ...
I spent a lot of time this week thinking about Bill Haas. He was the passenger in a car crash that killed a member of his host family. That man, 71-year-old Mark Gibello, was a successful businessman in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and a new friend.
Haas escaped without any major injuries, but he withdrew from the Genesis Open to return home to Greenville, S.C. When he’ll return to the Tour is anyone’s guess. It could be a while, as he grapples with the many emotions after surviving that horrifying crash – seriously, check out the photos – while the man next to him did not.
The entire Haas clan is some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Wish them the best in their recovery. – Ryan Lavner
On TIger Woods' missed cut at the Genesis Open ...
After missing the cut at the Genesis Open by more than a few car lengths, Tiger Woods appeared to take his early exit in stride. Perhaps that in and of itself is a form of progress.
Years ago, a second-round 76 with a tattered back-nine scorecard would have elicited a wide range of emotions. But none of them would have been particularly tempered, or optimistic, looking ahead to his next start. At age 42, though, Woods has finally ceded that a win-or-bust mentality is no longer helpful or productive.
The road back from his latest surgery will be a winding one, mixed with both ups and downs. His return at Torrey Pines qualified as the former, while his trunk slam at Riviera certainly served as the latter. There will surely be more of both in the coming weeks and months, and Woods’ ability to stomach the rough patches could prove pivotal for his long-term prognosis. - Will Gray
On the debate over increased driving distance on the PGA Tour ...
The drumbeat is only going to get louder as the game’s best get longer. On Sunday, Bubba Watson pounded his way to his 10th PGA Tour title at the Genesis Open and the average driving distance continues to climb.
Lost in the debate over driving distances and potential fixes, none of which seem to be simple, is a beacon of sanity, Riviera Country Club’s par-4 10th hole. The 10th played just over 300 yards for the week and yet yielded almost as many bogeys (86) as birdies (87) with a 4.053 stroke average.
That ranks the 10th as the 94th toughest par 4 on Tour this season, ahead of behemoths like the 480-yard first at Waialae and 549-yard 17th at Kapalua. Maybe the game doesn’t need new rules that limit how far the golf ball goes, maybe it just needs better-designed golf holes. - Rex Hoggard
On the depth of LPGA talent coming out of South Korea ...
The South Korean pipeline to the LPGA shows no signs of drying up any time soon. Jin Young Ko, 22, won her LPGA debut as a tour member Sunday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, and Hyejin Choi, 18, nearly won the right to claim LPGA membership there.
The former world No. 1 amateur who just turned pro finished second playing on a sponsor exemption. Sung Hyun Park, who shared Rolex Player of the Year honors with So Yeon Ryu last year, is set to make her 2018 debut this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
And Inbee Park is set to make her return to the LPGA in two weeks at the HSBC Women’s World Championship after missing most of last year due to injury. The LPGA continues to go through South Korea no matter where this tour goes. - Randall Mell