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Truckload of money

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LEMONT, Ill. – The relative importance of the FedEx Cup playoffs – now in their fifth season – can still be debated. In terms of golf’s hierarchy of prominence, they rank somewhere below a major championship, but above the member-guest hit-and-giggle at your local club.

It is impossible, though, to argue the financial relevancy of this four-tournament end-of-season series. At the end of next week’s Tour Championship, one player will be $10 million richer, his bank account oozing with more zeroes than a Star Trek convention.

Think of it this way: That final payout is more than Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player made in their entire PGA Tour careers. Combined.

Right this minute, at the midway point of the playoffs, Webb Simpson is leading the points race, which means he may be on the verge of becoming a very rich man. Not that he isn’t already, thanks to two recent victories that have vaulted him to the top of the season-long money list, but the 26-year-old could be entering a much higher tax bracket very soon.

Time to start thinking big. He could pimp his ride. Replace all his fillings with solid gold versions. Buy an entire offense for his favorite college football team.

Not Simpson. Well, not that he’ll admit to, at least.

“You know, $10 million is a ridiculously large amount of money and an unbelievable prize,” he said Tuesday at Cog Hill, site of this week’s BMW Championship, the third leg of this year’s playoffs. “At the end of the day, we want to win golf tournaments, but when $10 million is at stake, you can't not think about that. Part of me is kind of happy this week isn't determining who's going to win because you get one more week to focus on the golf. I know in Atlanta it'll be a lot more focus I'm sure on the $10 million.”

Pressed for one thing he would purchase with the newfound cash, Simpson answers with a smile: “More diapers.” He and wife Dowd have a young son named James. At an average price of $1,000 per year to diaper a baby, they could afford to have 9,999 more kids this year, based on his potential bonus alone.

Hey, it beats two of the recent FedEx Cup champions, who have used their winnings toward such things as alimony and Ponzi schemes.

While that’s the type of negligent spending only a government official could love, the standard response amongst those within shouting distance of the first-place prize is hardly outlandish.

Keegan Bradley: “I don’t know what I would do with that much money. That’s a lot of money. I don’t even want to think about it.”

Brandt Snedeker: “You wonder what you would do with it, how it would change your life. But then you realize, I’ve got a lot of work to do these next two weeks. I don’t know if there’s anything special I’d do with it. Probably just a big security blanket. You’ll see me spend it when I’m 50.”

Chez Reavie: “Oh, man. I’d pay off my house, maybe. We’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”

Gary Woodland: “I’m getting on an airplane and I’m flying somewhere for a couple of weeks. Golf clubs would not be coming with me. Then I’d come home, buy a car and even have a little bit left.”

Matt Kuchar: “I’d double it. How? That’s my secret, baby.”

Now there’s a man with a strong sense of capitalism. It only makes sense that such a large chunk of change is forcing players to think ahead to next week rather than taking things the proverbial one day at a time.

After all, $10 million is a lot of money. Just ask Webb Simpson or any of his fellow contenders for this year’s FedEx Cup crown. That amount can buy an awful lot of diapers – and plenty of other things, too.