When the sun sets on Friday's second round at the Frys.com Open, we'll be at the exact midpoint of the five-tournament Fall Series, the most critical time of the year for golfers trying to retain their tour card for next year.
And in 2010, it's going to take more money to stay in the game. The PGA Tour estimates that the 125th-ranked player may need to earn as much as $775,000. (Just barely scraping by, aren't they?) Last year's No. 125, Jimmy Walker, finished with a dy-no-mite $662,683, far less than this year's projected total.
Why the difference? Don't blame Obama or Bush. This one's on Tiger Woods.
Well, sort of. When he wins, Woods tends to soak up a lot of a given year's available tournament purses. This year, with no wins, that money went back in the pool, and got distributed among the other hundreds of PGA Tour players. Add that to the fact that we technically have one more tournament for tabulation purposes -- last year's Viking Classic was rained out -- and what you've got is a lot more money spread among a much wider field.
Based on the tour's projections, and looking at the current money list, you've got to figure that everybody south of Joe Durant at 115 is going to be sleeping a little less soundly these days. That's a group that includes Kevin Sutherland, Robert Garrigus (who's surely re-living one certain hole every day), Woody Austin, Briny Baird and many other notables.
Look, let's be honest -- we can't even begin to feel sorry for guys who have already earned more this year than most can in five. But there'll be drama over the next two-plus weeks as these guys fight for their own jobs, and we're all about that. Stay tuned; it's going to get good at the lower end of the money list over the next couple weeks.