Luke Donald, hoping to make history as the first dual member of the PGA TOUR and European Tour to top both money lists in the same season, is playing the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic for the first time in eight years.
His task on this side of the pond isn’t easy.
Donald, currently No. 2 on the PGA TOUR’s money list, will start the tournament $363,029 behind No. 1 Webb Simpson, who is also in the field at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The only way Donald will even have a chance to catch Simpson is by finishing no worse than a two-way tie for second, which would be worth $413.600. And even that might not be good enough, depending on where Simpson finishes on the leaderboard.
Here are the various scenarios:
IF DONALD WINS. Should Donald win at Disney, he will claim the first-place check of $846,000. If that happens, Simpson would need to finish solo second (worth $507,600) to stay atop the money list.
IF DONALD FINISHES SOLO SECOND. Should Donald win the $507,600 that goes with a solo second, Simpson would need to finish solo eighth or better to stay atop the money list. Solo eighth is worth $145,700.
IF DONALD FINISHES TIED FOR SECOND. A two-way tie for second is worth the aforementioned $413,600. If Donald accomplishes that, Simpson would need to finish in at least a four-way tie for second (worth $50,760) to stay atop the the money list. A three-way tie for second (worth $350,933.33) will not be good enough for Donald.
History is not on Donald’s side. Only once since 1990 has the money list lead changed hands in the final week of the season. That came when Tom Lehman won the TOUR Championship to overtake Phil Mickelson in 1996.
Of course, the significance of winning the money title is amplified this year because it also could sway how TOUR members vote when casting ballots for Player of the Year. Oh, and there’s one other nice perk for being the leading money-winner on TOUR – a five-year exemption.