In his weekly notes this week, Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press had two pretty intriguing points about career money earned in golf. The first involving a young Australian stud, and the second a two-time Masters champion. Here they are.
Cameron Smith, a 24-year-old from Australia, tied for 32nd at Hilton Head last week and moved past Jack Nicklaus on the PGA Tour career money list. With his tie for fifth in the Masters, Bubba Watson became the 16th player to surpass $40 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour.
That first point about Smith is hilarious. Cam Smith has played 75 events, won one of them and now he has more career cash than probably the best or second-best golfer in history.
The second point about Watson got me thinking, though. If Watson is No. 16 on the all-time money list, what does the rest of that list (at least at the top) look like?
To the surprise of literally no human beings, Tiger Woods tops the chart with over $111 million earned on the course. Phil Mickelson is a distant second. Over the years, Lefty has noted how many millions Big Cat has earned him. He also said at the Masters that he probably made him a better golfer.
"It's very possible that (I would have won more majors without Tiger around), and it's also possible that he brought out the best in me and forced me to work harder and focus to ultimately achieve the success that I've had," Mickelson said. "And it's hard to determine, looking back, which one it is.
"But I know that I've appreciated the challenge of playing and competing against him. I also appreciate the level of greatness that he's achieved in his career, and I've also enjoyed the chance to play and compete with him and against him. And it has been tough dealing with as much failure against him as I've had, but I also enjoy the challenge."
Of players still in their primes, Dustin Johnson ranks No. 5 all time with over $50 million earned. He's nearly gotten to half of Tiger's on-course money with not even a quarter of the wins ... in case you were wondering what kind of impact Woods has on future generations.
Justin Rose (!) is No. 10 all time. Matt Kuchar is No. 13 (!), and it stands to reason that $43 million will buy you a lot of fanny packs. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are No. 17 and 18 respectively and will be the next to enter the $40 million club. Both could feasibly end their careers having made at or around $100 million for swinging their golf clubs.
Here's the full list.
Davis Love III
Charles Howell III