How Do We Measure Golf Success?
Thanks to former colleague Adam Schupak for settling a 19th hole discussion at Woburn Golf Club yesterday. The topic? Who has won the most money on the PGA Tour without winning a tournament?
Step forward Cameron Tringale (above). As Adam notes, the American has racked up $14,487,568 in PGA Tour earnings since turning pro in 2009 without winning a PGA Tour title.
He could soon become the first $15 million man without a victory to his name. Tringale, who played on the victorious 2009 U.S. Walker Cup team, has three second-place finishes but has never put his hands on a trophy, albeit he won a team event with Jason Day in 2014.
Tringale is one of 10 players to have earned over $10 million without ever winning on the PGA Tour. The others are:
Brian Davis $13,374,228
Briny Baird $13,251,178
Jeff Overton $12,790,635
Brendon de Jonge $11,568,484
Graham DeLaet $11,265,285
Brett Quigley $11,058,693
Tommy Fleetwood $10,940,624
Charlie Wi $10,079,659
David Hearn $10,004,615
Tringale is still young enough at 34 to get his hands on a PGA Tour trophy. Ditto for Fleetwood. You have to think the five-time European Tour winner will win more than one PGA Tour title. Father Time probably rules out Davis (47), Baird (52), Quigley (52), and Wi (49). Injury has hindered the hopes of Overton and DeLaet. De Jonge seems intent on a broadcasting career rather than a playing one, while Canadian Hearn has time on his side at age 42.
How we view the above players is intriguing. Do we see them as failures because they perhaps haven’t lived up to expectations by failing to earn the win so many probably expected of them? Or are they success stories, players who have earned a fantastic living in one of the toughest arenas in world sport?
I tend towards the latter. I’ve always maintained anyone who has held a full European Tour or PGA Tour card for a good spell of time is a success story. Imagine playing in the same fields as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Dustin Johnson and other serial winners and making a good living doing so. Remember, the figures above are just tournament earnings. Rest assured these players have also done well in sponsorship money, company days, etc.
Imagine just teeing it up alongside the game's greatest players. Most might not be able to get the clubhead back, never mind make the cut and make money.
When the above 10 are in their dotage and perhaps look back on winless PGA Tour careers, will they do so with regret that they didn’t get over the line for just one week, or look back with pride at playing on the world’s toughest circuit for a sustained length of time?
Understandably, in a world where winning seems to be everything, many will look at the names above as failures. That W column is the often the only barometer by which we value a player’s reputation, whether that be regular wins or major wins. It seems absurd to think there are those might say Rory McIlroy never lived up to his potential if he ONLY wins the four majors he has now.
Tringale and company can holds their heads high to have walked among giants and made a career doing so. Same goes for those who’ve held European Tour cards for a sustained length of time without winning.
Success can be measured in many ways, not just in tournaments won, especially in the tough school that is the world’s professional tours.
#JustSaying: “I shot 79 in the first round … and 68 the next day to miss the cut by eight. I thought, ‘What is this all about?’ I drove back to Geneva … got on a plane and came home having spent nearly £2,000 in the process. I decided this was not for me. I was going to ask for my amateur status back but my dad talked me out of it.” Colin Montgomerie on playing the Swiss Open in his first year on Tour