Numb and Number
And we all become a little more numb.
It is harder than ever to identify with the sums of money being made in golf these days. Not that long ago it was unusual for a player to earn more than a million dollars in one season. In the not-so-distant future, it will not be unusual for a player to need to make a million dollars in a year to keep his card.
Which brings us, in a semi-roundabout way, to 45-year-old Michael Allen, who finished second all by himself at the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro Sunday when he rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole.
The money is precious to Michael Allen. He has ground out his playing privileges six times at Q-School, including last year when he finished third at professional golfs annual 108-hole crucible. When he returned home to Mesa, Ariz., his friends had tacked a sign on his locker that read: All-time money winner at Q-School.
Allen loves his friends but everybody knew, deep down, this was a dubious distinction. Michael Allen has never been able to afford to be numb about the money. Quite the contrary, his nerve endings have been raw for years now because of the suggestions that he didnt have the dollars or the sense to quit playing golf for a living.
He tried building homes for a while. He tried working in a shop. He tried medical sales. Only once before, until Sunday, did he make enough money on tour to regain his playing privileges for the next season.
So here he was Sunday in the press room at Greensboro answering questions about what it felt like to have won more money than he could count.
I sat in the trailer, signed my card and looked at the amount, he said. I couldnt believe they were going to give me a half million dollars for this and I was, like, geez, what a great time.
To be specific, Allen won $496,800 at Greensboro. It was enough to jump him from No. 153 on the money list to No. 84. The putt on the 72nd hole alone was worth almost $100,000. There will be no return to Q-School for Michael Allen this year. He will be fully exempt in 2005.
Half a million bucks. Thats like a career for me, pards, Michael Allen said.
Half a million bucks for Greg Norman is jet fuel.
None of which is to suggest that Norman, Woods, Singh or Els havent worked hard for their financial rewards. In fact it can be argued that all of them have made enough money now so that money doesnt matter any more and they are free to play to win and to play for the love of the game.
But there are a lot more Michael Allens in golf and in the real world. There are a lot more people who have to count every last loving, living penny.
On Saturday Michael Allen said nobody recognizes him in public and he understands that. Thats OK, he said. Why would anybody know me?
The answer to that question is easy. Just because people dont know Michael Allens face doesnt mean they dont recognize his life.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba
Conor Moore is known for his impressions of golfers, and he is back with a new video just in time for The Open.
Moore even got the thumbs up from Ian Poulter.
This is hilarious..— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 16, 2018
Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite
Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.
Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.
Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.
Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:
12/1: Dustin Johnson
16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose
20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm
25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods
30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed
40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick
60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson
80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele
100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen
Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC
If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.
Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.
Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.
There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.
There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.
Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.
John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.
Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.
Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.
Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.
“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”
Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.
“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”
But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.
“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”