You might be surprised to see who is above 100 on the PGA Tour money list. 2006 has been a memorable one on Tour with another career defining year for Mr. Woods, a career most-embarrasing-moment for Phil, and a slew of first-time winners.
Every year there are those who struggle to perform at a level we expect them to. Lets take a cursory look at the above-100 crowd and see what we find…
Fred Couples (#102)
Seattle, Washington native Couples remains a fan favorite. His silky swing and easy smile have graced the fairways for a long time.
A bad back has kept Couples from playing as well as he might have in the last few years. His place on the money list tells a different story than his place in the World Golf Rankings. Currently he is 46th in the world.
Freddie’s length and dedication to the game will keep him under the 125 mark at least until he’s fifty. Regardless, we are seeing the aging of Couples. 102nd place is no surprise.
Justin Leonard (#108)
The bombers shoved Leonard to the back of line. He’s 161st in Driving Distance at 282.1 yards, which is too Funk-like for his age. He ranks 170th in Greens in Regulation and 104th in putting average which gives you some idea of how difficult things have become for Leonard.
He’s made 15 cuts of 23 events played but has only two top-10s and four top-25s. Not Leonard’s best year. He snagged two events in 2005 and will be back next year. He won’t bring a ton of confidence into next year as the driving distance goes up and he stalled out on GIRs. Leonard needs to hit the ball strait and longer to lengthen his promising career.
Jason Gore (#114)
No surprise here. Factor in the compulsory sophomore slump and injury and you understand that Gore is doing well at 114th on the money list. Don’t worry about Gore. He’ll be back in force next year hitting it a mile and flashing that toothy grin.
I expect him to finish somewhere around 65th on the money list in 2007. Or should I start predicting how many FedEx points he has? No? I don’t understand the FedEx Cup point system either.
Darren Clarke (#120)
All of us feel for Clarke and his children following the loss of his wife. He’s only played 11 events on the PGA Tour in 2006, holds 24th place in the World Golf Rankings this week, and helped trounce the United States recently at the Ryder Cup. All is well with the state of Clarke. Should he make the PGA Tour a priority, someone else will be giving up their card.
Paul Azinger (#124)
Zinger busted out a money list exemption to get back on the Tour this year and I’m one who’s rooting for him to stick around. It takes guts to take on a new field after a long break.
He holds a 70.98 scoring average, has one top-10, and six top-25 finishes this year. Not blistering numbers but pretty good for a guy who’s done hard time in the announcer’s booth. I hope he’s able to take advantage of his remaining 2006 events.
Brad Faxon (#132)
Ouch. Fax hasn’t had a top-10 finish all year and has a 71.60 scoring average while sitting at 127th in the World Golf Rankings. His putting and short game are still strong but Driving Distance (269.6), Accuracy (57.7%), and Greens in Regulation (58%) are killing him. He’s good on and around the greens but unfortunately there’s that whole tee and fairway thing.
Faxon has been competing for too long not to get his driving straitened out. He’s going to get things turned around in this final month.
David Duval (#171)
I was hoping things were looking up for Duval who’s game departed sometime after that major, number one ranking, and 59. He made his first two cuts this season and then only one of his next seven.
His T16 at the 2006 U.S. Open clearly indicates what he’s capable of. You don’t make it inside the top 25 at the U.S. Open unless you are playing well. Unfortunately for Duval and for his dedicated fans he was unable to capitalize on any U.S. Open momentum.
Unless Duval comes out of nowhere and wins an event he’s going to have to use a money list exemption or whatever else he’s got up his sleeve to play again on the PGA Tour. Maybe we’ll see him emerge from the Nationwide Tour again but I don’t think he’ll make it this time around.
John Daly (#190)
John Daly’s year has been awful. He has as much natural talent anyone. It isn’t hard to see that his wife’s incarceration has taken its toll.
Along with seven missed cuts Daly withdrew from four events this year. His highest finish was T17 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship which ended up being his only top-25 of the season. He played the Masters, British Open, and PGA Championship but missed the cut at them all.
While hitting the ball as far as he ever has he needs to hit more greens (60.4%) to get the job done. The PGA Tour wouldn’t be the same without Daly.
All that hard living is catching up to Daly fast.