Season-ending cash grab


Off season? What off season?

There's a lot of work to be had this time of year for players with high world rankings.

Ten months of tournaments have nearly passed in the 2011 season, but there’s a load of money still to be made in the final 10 weeks of the year. In fact, the richest first-place check in golf ($2 million) is up for grabs at the Shanghai Masters this week.

In the first week of December, the Nedbank Challenge will feature 12 players competing for $5 million. Last place is worth $250,000.

World No. 1 Luke Donald isn't playing the Shanghai Masters, but his season is hardly over. Though he’s cumulatively earned more than $12 million as the leading money winner on the PGA Tour and European Tour this year, he’s got a mathematical chance to make another $5 million in prize money over the next 10 weeks. That doesn’t count appearance money for going to Australia in December.

If Donald’s second child is born this week, and he decides to play the HSBC Champions in China next week, he will have four more chances to win prize money this year. He’s also scheduled to play the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, the Dubai World Championship and the JBWere Masters in Australia in consecutive weeks in December.

Here are the first-place checks for the winners of those four events: HSBC Champions ($1.2 million), Nedbank Challenge ($1.25 million) Dubai World Championship ($1.25 million for winning the tournament, $1.5 million for winning the Race to Dubai bonus prize), JBWere Masters ($282,000).