Best Money Birdies Of The Year (so far)



Jason Bohn had a 10 footer birdie putt on 18 last Sunday to finish alone in second. It was about a pure money birdie putt as they come. Snedeker was three strokes up in the last group behind them (and dry off the tee) and Kuchar was in with his par tied with Willie McGirt and Dustin Johnson already in the clubhouse. Bohn knew he was in a four-way tie for second and this birdie attempt was purely a money play. Make the birdie putt, win $604,800, miss the putt and earn $369,600. That’s a $235,200 birdie putt.


Bohn burned the edge and settled for a par.


Bohn finished in a four way tie for 2nd and a handsome payday of $369,600, but he still has to think about that putt.


It was appreciated that the CBS crew on the telecast addressed the money involved in Bohn’s putt. We were all thinking it. I’m sure the PGA Tour prefers not to mention money but it seems ridiculous to pretend $235,200 doesn’t matter (CBS actually incorrectly estimated it was worth about $300,000 but perhaps they were thinking it would be a 3 way tie for second and not a four way tie). Money is interesting to people. The World Series of Poker doesn’t get a prime time spot on ESPN because of the players' athleticism and hot bodies.


It got me wondering: who has made the biggest money birdies so far this year. Who’s on the Tour this year is money?

[for younger readers, the skinny guy on the left is the fatter guy in The Internship and the chunkier guy on the right went on to direct Iron Man 1 and 2]



First, we can all agree every stroke is worth money in any particular event. It doesn’t matter if it is made or saved Thursday morning or late Sunday afternoon. However, our criteria is based on who out there has made a birdie on his last hole purely for money (granted, it is possible unlike Bohn, they didn’t know it exactly at the time). We excluded birdies that got a player to win a tournament or got the player tied for the lead because in those situations, the player is playing for a title. We assumed players are not in it solely for the money but are supremely competitive to be on the Tour. This was out criteria: 

  • Must be a birdie on the 72nd  hole of the tournament
  • It is ultimately not a birdie for the lead or a tie for the lead, i.e. it was strictly a cash play

Sure there are excellent clutch pars to earn money or birdies on the 70th or 71st hole that earned a player a lot of money. We had to narrow the scope somehow and birdies on the 18th on Sunday was the best criterion.


So far in 2013, here are the leaders:


  1.  Jeff Maggert at The Players birdied 18 to get him into a three way T2 instead of a four-way T4 for an extra $335,267!
  2. Rory McIlroy at the Valero made a birdie at 18 to finish alone in 2nd  instead of a four-way T2 for extra $260,400.
  3. Henrik Stenson at Shell Houston to get into a T2 with Billy Horschel instead of a three way T3 which earned him extra $223,200.
  4. Josh Teater at Farmers to get a T2 with Brandt Snedeker instead of a three way T3 and made extra $219,600.
  5. Phil Mickelson at St. Jude this year to get a T2 with Scott Stallings instead of a two-way T3 for an extra $171,000.
  6. Adam Scott birdied the 18 at The Open to get a T3 with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood instead of a four-way T5 earning an extra $150,776.


Not surprisingly, the money birdies typically avoid being in a logjam tie place below in the standings. If anything, this also shows the impressive size of the purse at The Players, the biggest purse in golf of the year because Maggert’s three-way tie for second was worth more than McIlroy’s second alone at the Valero.




The other thing to consider is how it feels to be someone losing money because of a money birdie. While a good sportsman always has mixed feelings hoping for bad things to happen to a competitor when it comes to winning a title (or maybe not), the feeling may not be as mixed when it comes to straight out cash. In other words, from the perspective of a player that one of the above-mentioned managed to tie (which is every case other than McIlroy), they could not be faulted for freely cheering against the birdies made by these players. For example, Maggert’s birdie on 18 on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass (no small feat) cost Kevin Streelman and David Lingmerth $126,667 each and Stenson’s birdie on the 72nd hole at the Shell Houston Open cost Billy Horschel $124,000.


The WGC Bridgstone (along with the other two WGC events) had the second largest purse on the schedule after The Players. In fact, Stricker’s birdie on the 72nd hole last year at this event got him into a T2 with Jim Furyk worth an extra $242,500.


So when Tiger Woods is wrapping up his 8th win on Sunday at Firestone, keep in mind there can still be some big money birdies on the line.


Douglas Han



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