Unless you are one of the world’s best, golf can be a tough way to make a living. Unlike basketball, football, and baseball, there are no contracts where athletes get paid regardless of their performance. Unlike tennis, players don’t get paid for just showing up to tournaments. Each week they have to beat at least half the field to earn a paycheck. And if they don’t do that consistently enough throughout the year, they don’t get to be on tour anymore and have to start over.
Of course, Florida State has a golfer who is among the world’s best. But there are a lot of other guys out there grinding as well. Here is how they have fared during 2018, with the PGA and Web.com Tours complete for the season.
Brooks Koepka: Winning the 2018 US Open cemented his place in the upper echelon of the sport, but then he held off Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship as well, and is now the 3rd ranked golfer in the world behind Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. This week he’s off to compete in the Ryder Cup.
YTD earnings: $7,094,047
Daniel Berger: Berger’s professional trajectory seemed set, finishing 46th, 22nd, and then 8th in the FedEx Cup Standings for the first three years of his PGA career. But he stumbled this year, managing just one top-10 finish in a disappointing season which saw him slip all the way to 89th.
YTD earnings: $1,721,763
Jonas Blixt: We’re it not for his win in the 2017 Zurich Classic (which provided a two year exemption), Blixt would have struggled to remain on tour. Now he’ll have to play well in the 2018-19 wraparound season. He made just 10-23 cuts, and had one top-25 finish. He did manage a 2nd place finish at the Australian Open, which is not a PGA event.
YTD earnings: $368,518 plus $127,500 Australian, whatever that is.
George McNeill: McNeill continues to linger in no-man’s land: he’s not able to compete on the PGA Tour, he’s too young for the PGA Tour Champions, and he’s unwilling to go back to the Web.com Tour. He did manage to get 10 starts on the PGA Tour, making four cuts, with a T-13 as his best result. He played one Web.com event and finished 15th.
YTD earnings: $100,450
PGA Tour Champions
Jeff Sluman: At age 61, his days of winning tournaments may be over, but he’s still printing money out on the PGA Tour Champions, and had two top-10s.
YTD earnings: $442,318
Hank Lebioda: Say hello to FSU’s newest PGA Tour member. The top-25 finishers on the regular season money list earn their tour cards, and Lebioda finished No. 25. He had to sit and watch while a number of golfers had an opportunity to knock him out, including this chip on the 72nd hole of the final tournament.
YTD earnings: $169,758
Doug Letson: Letson turned in a good finish after Monday qualifying early in the season, and it was enough to earn him a bunch of starts. But he was never able to get much momentum, with just one top-25 finish in 13 starts. He’s back to the drawing board.
YTD earnings: $18,975
Chase Seiffert: The 27-year-old has been a professional since 2013, but aside from brief status on the PGA Tour Canada, Seiffert has never had anywhere to play. So he spent his year trying to Monday qualify, which could be the most difficult way to make a living in major sports. But, he pulled it off. See if you follow:
- In June, Seiffert played in the Traveler’s Championship Monday qualifier, where 61 professionals competed for four spots. He fired a course record 63, and was entered into the tournament.
- He shot 66-71 to make the cut, and then 67-64 on the weekend to finish tied for 9th in a tournament won by Bubba Watson.
- The PGA ranks its players based on FedEx Cup points, which are earned at each event. Since Seiffert is not a tour member, he earns what are called Non-member FedEx Cup points, which, in this case, turned out to be 75 points.
- A top-10 finish earns entry into the next tournament, but he missed the cut, and finished the year with just those 75 points.
- The top 125 players on the PGA Tour automatically retain the playing privileges for the next season. Seiffert’s 75 points were nowhere near close enough for that, BUT, players 126-200 earn entry to the Web.com Tour finals, where they can play their way onto the PGA Tour.
- He was right on the bubble, sitting home watching the final tournament of the year. Most of the day it seemed like he would end up at No. 201, but Sangmoon Bae’s struggles allowed him to finish right on the number.
- In the first three finals events (there are four), Seiffert finished 30th, Cut, Cut. The top 25 finishers earn their PGA Tour cards. He made the cut in the 4th event, and then shot a bogey free 65 under all the pressure on Sunday. The only problem, he needed 64 to earn his tour card.
- However, anyone who finishes 26-50 and doesn’t otherwise have tour status somewhere, earns full membership to the Web.com Tour. So, welcome to the Web.com Tour.
- Got it?
YTD earnings: $220,551
Bogey free 65 (-6) final round for Chase Seiffert. Looks just short of earning his PGA Tour card, but earns full status on the https://t.co/4wUKclmoD7 tour.— SeminoleGolf (@seminole_golf) September 23, 2018
Cristobal Del Solar: Brooks Koepka wasn’t the only Seminole golfer to win a professional tournament this year. Del Solar (or is it Solar?) won in his 3rd start of the season, the Center Open on the PGA Tour Latinamerica. He’s currently 13th in the Order or Merit, and needs a top-5 finish to earn his way up the ladder to the Web.com Tour.
YTD earnings: $37,076
Joshua Lee: Lee has struggled on the PGA Tour Latinamerica in his first year as a professional, making just three cuts in eight events. He also Monday qualified for a Web.com tournament, but failed to make the cut.
YTD earnings: $2,961
Harry Ellis: Another first year pro who is struggling. He’s 0-2 in European Tour events, and 1-4 on the Challenge Tour (the European equivalent of the Web.com).
YTD earnings: 1,280 Euros.
Rowin Caron: Did you know that there is a developmental professional golf tour for men which is sanctioned by the national golf associations of France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Morocco? Well, don’t say I never taught you anything. Rowin Caron is currently 33rd on the money list on the Alps Tour, earning 4,910 units of some currency.
Jack Maguire: It seemed for a while that Maguire would be the next ‘Nole on the PGA Tour, but he’s been unable to secure status on any tour (hang in there, says Chase Seiffert). The 24-year-old played one event on the Web.com tour, and finished T-51. In two starts on the PGA Tour, he missed both cuts.
YTD earnings: $1,664