How long will this incredible streak go on for? And is Jin Young Ko the best golfer on the planet? And Tiger Woods is back! On Twitter, at least. Alex Perry wraps it all up in The Slam
Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam where I’ll be discussing one of the more ridiculous stats in golf. That’s right, it’s the best PGA Tour players without a win.
The reason? Because the man who tops said list almost made his way off it at the Zozo Championship in Japan, only for homeboy Hideki Matsuyama to spoil the fun.
How am I defining “best”? By career earnings, of course. So without further ado, with a little help from the ever-excellent PGA Tour website, here are the 10 players who have topped $10 million without etching their name into a trophy…
Best PGA Tour players without a win
David Hearn ($10m), competing in the 2021 PGA Tour season on a medical exemption, edged into eight figures when he picked up just shy of 15 grand at the 3M Open in July. But it was from 2012 to ’16 the Canadian was most profitable, banking more than a million a year. Hearn’s closest calls came in play-off defeats at the 2013 John Deere Classic and 2015 Greenbrier.
Charlie Wi ($10m) has 58 top 25 finishes in 262 PGA Tour starts, including five runner-ups. The South Korean has twice led through 54 holes – a one-shot lead turned into a one-shot defeat to David Toms at the 2011 Crown Plaza Invitational, while a three-shot lead at the 2021 Pebble Beach Pro-Am became a two-shot deficit in favour of Phil Mickelson. Ouch.
Brett Quigley ($11m) had five runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour before joining the senior circuit and winning just four months after his 50th birthday.
Tommy Fleetwood ($11.2m) needs little introduction. The five-time European Tour winner and Ryder Cup hero has an impressive 20 top-10 finishes in 90 PGA Tour starts – including this week at the Zozo. Two of his four runner-up spots on the PGA Tour came at majors – the 2018 US Open and the following year’s Open – and who can forget Paul Azinger’s comments about Fleetwood’s inability to get over the line when the Englishman led the 2020 Honda Classic with 18 to play? (In case you need a reminder: “There’s a lot of pressure. You’re trying to prove to everybody you’ve got what it takes and you can win all you want on that European Tour, the international game and all that, but you have to win on the PGA Tour.”)
Graham DeLeat ($11.3m) has three runner-up finishes on his PGA Tour CV, all of which came in his purple patch from 2013 to ’14. All we by a single shot, too.
Brendon de Jonge ($11.6m) broke through the million mark for six straight seasons from 2010, and the Zimbabwean will consider himself unfortunate for missing out on the 2012 Shriners title after finishing on 23-under-par. He also has one play-off defeat – at the 2015 McGladrey Classic, where he was bested by Robert Streb.
Jeff Overton ($12.8m) is best remembered for his “Boom, baby!” antics at the 2010 Ryder Cup, but has since disappeared into the golf wilderness. He has plenty of money to show for it thanks to a PGA Tour career that included three runner-up finishes.
Briny Baird ($13.3m) started a whopping 379 PGA Tour events from 1999 to 2014 and made a lot of money in the process. The American had six runner-ups, two third-place finishes, and 31 top 10s. The closest he came was an epic six-hole play-off with Bryce Molder at the 2011 Frys Open.
Brian Davis ($13.4m) won twice on the European Tour before turning his attention to the US circuut, where he is now 372 starts into a career that has made him incredible wealthy. The Londoner has had five runner-up finishes, the most infamous of which was a play-off defeat to Jim Furyk at Harbour Town where he was handed a two-shot penalty for a rules infraction. Hold me.
Cameron Tringale ($15.6m) overtook Davis earlier this year thanks to a 2021 season that saw him bank almost two and a half million big ones. Thanks to his runner-up spot in Japan – his fourth overall – he has now banked more than a million in just four starts in 2022 so far and it makes him the first to $15m without a win.
It’s some list, I’m sure you’ll agree. And if you’re an aspiring caddie, these are the bags you want to get on.
It also got me thinking. Would you rather have a PGA Tour career that spanned 15 years and made you very, very rich, or would you rather have one hot season, win a couple of million and a major, then disappear into oblivion?
Maybe I need to get out more.
Consider The Slam to be the Official Cameron Tringale Tracker from this moment on…
On Twitter, that is.
And it looks like Tiger Woods will make his first PGA Tour-related public appearance since that horrific car accident at the Hero World Challenge in December.
The GOAT tweeted that the full line-up is in place for the year-ending hit-and-giggle in the Bahamas. To save you a click: Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger, Tyrrell Hatton, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Rose, and defending champion Henrik Stenson.
Long Socks to take a break
There aren’t many people in caddie circles more popular than John McLaren.
The 55-year-old, perhaps best known for his on-course style that’s earned him the nickname Johnny Long Socks, was Luke Donald’s bagman as the Englishman ascended to World No 1, and has spent the last six years on the bag of Paul Casey. But McClaren has decided to take “an indefinite mental health break from the game”.
In an incredibly honest interview with Ben Everill, McLaren said he “came to the realization that the anxiety of cross-Atlantic travel on a regular basis in this current pandemic-punctured world was not healthy”.
It’s well worth a read – as is this by our very own Steve Carroll.
Who’s in the winners’ circle this week?
Hideki Matsuyama’s 2021 started with a victory he craved at the Masters, and it ended in a victory he craved in front of his compatriots as he took the Zozo Championship title in Tokyo.
And what a way to finish…
From a UK perspective, there were top 10s for Matt Wallace and Tommy Fleetwood.
Also victorious on home soil was Jin Young Ko.
One of my favourite moments of the last year was interviewing Ko. She’s so remarkably grounded for someone who has achieved what she has.
And this weekend she won her fourth title in her last seven starts, her 11th LPGA title, and 22nd overall, to regain her spot at the top of the world rankings and arguably the best player in the world.
She didn’t quite overtake Annika Sorenstam for most rounds in the 60s, but equalling the GOAT is some going.
- RELATED: What’s in Jin Young Ko’s bag?
Meanwhile, at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, Bernhard Langer became the oldest player in PGA Champions Tour history at the age of 64.
The German now has as many wins on the senior circuit as he did on the European Tour. There’s one person who doesn’t have a problem getting over the line…
Another week, another first-time winner on the European Tour as Jeff Winther took the honours at the inaugural Mallorca Golf Open.
Winther is also the third Danish player to win this season, after the Hojgaard twins, Rasmus and Nicolai, went back to back in August.
Right, that’s enough from me. Remember you can follow me on Twitter if that’s your jam – and don’t forget to sign up for the 2022 NCG Top 100s Tour. I’ve played in plenty of these and they are magnificent events at some of UK and Ireland’s finest courses.
Play well, and I’ll see you next time for more big talking points from the world of golf.