Money title not what it used to be

By Randall MellOctober 13, 2011, 9:20 pm

Webb Simpson must be a throwback.

That’s what the pioneers who helped build the PGA Tour suspect after hearing how determined he is to win the money title.

“The money title used to be a really big deal,” says Bob Goalby, the Masters champion in 1968. “It was an important stripe in your rank, so to speak. It was almost right there with a major championship when a player’s accomplishments were read off.”

The fact that there wasn’t a whole lot of money to win back when Goalby got his start in 1956 made the money title that much more meaningful. Goalby made $20 tying for 30th with four other players in his rookie debut in Sanford, Fla.

“Back then, we had 1,500 players trying to Monday qualify for the Los Angeles Open, into a field of 150 players, with only the top 30 spots getting paid,” Goalby said. “We were driving three to a car from tournament to tournament. We bunked together to share the cost of a $10.95 hotel room.”

With Tiger Woods running away with so many money titles, with the FedEx Cup’s development and the growing importance of the world rankings, the money title has lost some of its luster as an award.

Not to Simpson, though. He wants the Arnold Palmer Trophy and five-year exemption that goes with the money title.

“It would be a pretty prestigious list to be a part of,” Simpson said.

Simpson’s fast start Thursday at the McGladrey Classic sharpens focus on the tightest money battle in two decades. Simpson is teeing it up this week in a bid to overtake Luke Donald atop the money list.

Trailing Donald by $68,971, Simpson needs a finish of 15th or better to have a chance to overtake him. It gets complicated. While a two-way tie for 15th will do it for Simpson, an eight-way tie for 14th won’t, but you get the ballpark idea.

With an opening 63 at Sea Island, Ga., Simpson is aiming for his third victory in six starts. How the money title potentially factors in PGA Tour Player of the Year voting is adding to the emphasis on the money title. So is the fact that the money race is so tightly contested that we could see somebody seize the money title in the season-ending event for the first time since 1996. That was the year Tom Lehman won The Tour Championship to overtake Phil Mickelson as the money leader.

It’s possible Simpson and Donald will square off together at the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World next week. Donald wants to become the first player to win the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles in the same season and is considering playing Disney.

Donald leads the PGA Tour with $5,837,214 in earnings.

For players from Goalby’s era, the money makes it such a different game today.

“When we get the former champs together, we don’t bitch about all the money players are making now,” Goalby said. “We’re happy for them, but if they only knew the way it used to be . . . .”

Arnold Palmer totaled $1.8 million in official PGA Tour career money winnings.

Tiger Woods has made more than $94 million.

“It’s mind-boggling to think you can make that much money hitting a golf ball,” said Doug Ford, who won 19 times between 1951-63 but never won more than $46,000 in a season. “The caddies today make more money in a month than we did in a year.”

PGA Tour pros are playing for more than $280 million in prize money this season.

Ninety PGA Tour pros made $1 million or more in prize money last year.

Curtis Strange was the first player to make $1 million or more in a single season back in 1988.

Bob Toski won the PGA Tour money title in 1954, but he didn’t get a lucrative start. As a young player, he felt fortunate he got to travel in Ted Kroll’s luxurious Studebaker in a player caravan between events. This, however, was only after Kroll came through with his back to the wall.

Nearly broke, Kroll told his friends before one tournament that he was either going to win and buy a new car, or he was going to take the next year off. Toski was his biggest cheerleader. Toski put the car together with each birdie Kroll made. “You've got the hood,” Toski said after one birdie. “You've got the fenders,” after another.

Kroll won that week, and he bought a Studebaker.

“I traveled in the back seat, behind the clothes rack, and you couldn't even see me,” said Toski, who was 5 feet 7 and 118 pounds in his prime. “We stayed three to a hotel room, and I got to sleep on a cot. With the snoring, the farting and the belching, you did your best [to sleep]. And Ted used to grind his teeth in his sleep.

“You hope the young players appreciate what was done before them, the things that allow them to get paid just for wearing a cap. If they do, they aren’t spoiled. If they don’t . . .”

Getty Images

M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

Getty Images

Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

Getty Images

Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

Getty Images

Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.