Below is a list of the 2017 PGA Tour top 20 money winners. Justin Thomas leads the list at $9.9M and barely beat out Jordan Spieth at $9.4M. While the season long Fed Ex Cup race was for a $10M winner’s check, that money did not count on the official money list. If it had, Justin Thomas’ total winnings would have been doubled. That explains how the PGA Tour gets their best players to compete in the 4-week playoff series at the end of the year.
Over the last 20 years, the PGA Tour has de-emphasized player winnings. Before the Fed Ex Cup, a player’s ranking was almost exclusively based on winnings. Every leaderboard on Monday morning would show the winners and the money they won. Then you would see a money list similar to the list below. Now it is actually difficult to find this list. In fact, I can’t recall seeing or hearing anything on the Golf Channel about the money list. They never say “Player X won the tournament and $1.5M.” The only time you hear money discussed is during the Fed Ex Cup playoffs which totally emphasizes the $10M winner’s check.
As the money list visibility has decreased, we also have seen one of the most popular comments on TV coverage completely disappear. As a player was standing over a 10ft putt on the last hole, you always heard the comment “this putt is worth $100K.” I think the players, especially those outside the top 20, realize the money impact if they move up the leaderboard but the fans are never told.
I guess the Fed Ex Cup points are a more efficient way to track year long performance but the points are actually closely correlated to the money list and moving back to the money list would be more informative on seeing a player’s success.
Highlights from the money list:
- It was a close race for first place with only $500K separating Thomas and Spieth.
- 4 players really separated themselves for the rest of the field.
- Top finisher without winning a tournament – Matt Kuchar at 14th place, $4.2M