You may have heard this old axiom before: in life, half the battle is just showing up.
There's a certain truth to that statement in sports as well, especially when you view it through the bank accounts of the professional players which don't make the headlines very often. Even if you're a bench player in the NBA, NHL, NFL, or MLB, you're still earning a six or seven-figure salary just for showing up to work each day.
This isn't the case as much in individual sports. If you're a tennis, golf, auto racing, or skiing/snowboarding competitor, you still have to achieve a minimum level of performance in order to qualify for a cash prize. In the case of golf, through 36 holes you still have to be one of the top 78 players (usually) or finish within ten strokes of the leader in a major tournament. If you do make the cut, you're guaranteed at least some money. The minimum payout for any given tournament is at least $6,000, which isn't bad for four days' work.
Plus, here's the kicker - even if you do get one of those "chump change" PGA paychecks, you're still earning money just for playing golf. How many people would love to have a life like that?
In short, even if your name doesn't appear on the final winners' leaderboard - aka, the top ten finishers including ties - you can still earn a very impressive living on the PGA Tour. And with the current season at the unofficial halfway point just before The Masters, there have been quite a few golfers who have fattened their bank accounts despite not cracking the top ten at all. They've done this by playing well enough to punch their ticket into the final two rounds of the tournaments in which they've played. In other words, they've just "shown up" through half of the tournament, which guarantees them a share of the purse if they finish the final 36 holes.
With that in mind, here are the top ten "non top-ten" finishers on the PGA Tour thus far in 2013-14:
10 James Driscoll - $343,780
9 Brian Davis - $353,748
8 Kevin Chappell - $354,147
7 Lee Westwood - $373,875
6 Sang-Moon Bae - $396,969
5 Martin Flores - $407,500
4 Jonas Blixt - $411,180
3 Michael Thompson - $431,778
2 Boo Weekley - $446,976
1 Phil Mickelson - $490,862
This is one of those lists that you wouldn't expect Lefty to be at the top of. After all, Mickelson has never gone this long in a PGA Tour season without cracking the top ten on the final leaderboard. Undoubtedly a big reason for his struggles is a pain in his side that has forced him to withdraw from two tournaments already this year. But even a non-100% Mickelson is still pretty good: he has made eight of nine cuts and posted five top-25 finishes. He tied for 12th place at the Shell Houston Open, which netted him $125,440 and a little momentum going into the 2014 Masters, where he has earned three green jackets in the past decade. The career tally for Mickelson is always impressive to read: second on the all-time earnings list at over $73.6 million, 42 Tour victories, and five major titles including last year's Open Championship.
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