For golfers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the goal is wins, wins and more wins. They want majors, they want World Golf Championships and they want to be Player of the Year. But for a lot of millionaire golfers that you've never heard of, the goal isn't so flattering. Their goal, plain and simple, is to have a job for next season. Preferably that job is on the PGA Tour, and to do that, you must finish in the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list.
With the final tournament of the year this week in Florida, players on the bubble will be sweating out a good finish in hopes of staying with the big boys, and not getting bumped to the Nationwide Tour.
Who is right around the number?
120. Joe Durant, $770,425
121. Troy Merritt, $760,798
122. Robert Garrigus, $737,275
123. Woody Austin, $727,352
124. Michael Allen, $726,631
125. Troy Matteson, $723,328
126. Briny Baird, $710,337
127. Aron Price, $704,102
128. Bob Estes, $701,158
129. Michael Connell, $694,884
A few names on here might surprise you, but a few of these guys are in serious jeopardy of having to go back to Q-school in two weeks if they struggle ahead of the number or can't make the cut behind the number.
How small a margin can this be for some guys? Take Garrigus, No. 122 on this list, for example. The 32-year-old had a three-shot lead at the St. Jude this year going into the last hole, but made a triple-bogey, eventually losing in a playoff to Lee Westwood. A win there, and Garrigus is secure for two years on the PGA Tour with a job and the exemption.
Briny Baird is another great example of how quickly a bad season can snag you. Two seasons ago, Baird finished 27th on the FedEx Cup points list, but now is a spot out of keeping his job for next season. He will have to finish high enough to jump Matteson, who won't have to sweat this week because of his win last year at the Frys.Com. Matteson is in the field this week, however, so Baird will need a poor showing from him and good play himself to leapfrog.
Along with that, he has to sweat out anyone behind him having a great week, or even someone really far down the list winning and gaining enough money to jump all these guys. Being a pro golfer is all fun and games until you start sneaking around that pesky 125 number.
Then, as Mike McDermott once told us, "it's a freaking grind."