A Look Ahead to the 2022 Golf Majors

A Look Ahead to the 2022 Golf Majors

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

Talor Gooch and Sam Burns Towards the Top of PGA Tour Money List After Fall Portion of Schedule, but Big Names Loom as 2022 Golf Majors Near

Let’s take a look ahead to the 2022 golf majors tournaments, prior to the FedEx Cup beginning in 2007, the PGA Tour used total earnings to determine the champion of the overall season. While the results of the points standings and the money list are usually similar, there is often a difference in first place. This is due to the majors and other big events that tend to pay more than smaller events.

In the FedEx Cup, winners of the majors and other high-profile events (The Players Championship, World Golf Championship events, and a few other tournaments) receive 600 points instead of the standard 500.

The money, however, can be a much larger disparity. Last year, outside of the season-ending Tour Championship where no FedEx Cup points are awarded, the largest purse for an event was The Players Championship at $15 million, with $2.7 million going to the winner. The next four were the four majors, with the U.S. Open leading the way at $2.25 million for the winner and The Open Championship being the last of the four with $1.935 million going to first place. The three WGC events follow at $1.785 million each.

But while those events pay just 100 more FedEx Cup points, there’s a much bigger difference in money. For example, the following PGA Tour events pay 500 FedEx Cup points to win, and you can see their first-place allotment in parenthesis: 3M Open, Sanderson Farms Championship, Sony Open in Hawaii, The RSM Classic (all $1.188 million); the Wyndham Championship and John Deere Classic ($1.116 million); and the Puerto Rico Open ($540,000) was the lowest-paying event that paid a full 500 FedEx Cup points. Other smaller events that were held in concurrence with majors or WGC tournaments only pay 300 FedEx Cup points.

2021 Money Leaders vs. FedEx Cup Standings

Last year’s FedEx Cup standings saw Patrick Cantlay edge out Jon Rahm for the title, but due to Rahm winning the U.S. Open and Cantlay didn’t claim victory at a major, the money-list standings were reversed, with Rahm out front at $7.705 million compared to Cantlay’s total of $7.638 million.

In addition, the final FedEx Cup standings are largely dependent on the finish at the Tour Championship, as starting strokes help determine who gets a head start at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, so the finishing order at the Tour Championship mirrors the finishing order in the FedEx Cup. So for players like Kevin Na, who finished third at the Tour Championship, there can be a big difference in FedEx Cup finish and money list finish—Na was third in the FedEx Cup standings but was 27th on the money list with $3.625 million.

What Gives a Player an Advantage on the Money List?

Given that majors and WGC events pay out the most, if a golfer can win one or more of those events, chances are they will finish high in the money list. Rahm last season is a perfect example. Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa, who also won a WGC event last year, was fourth on the final money list, and Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama was 18th. Justin Thomas, who won The Players Championship, came in fifth despite not having great results for much of the season. Phil Mickelson played in just 23 of the events in the expanded 2020-21 season but ended up 42nd on the money list with $2.707 million in winnings due to his victory at the PGA Championship.

How Does the 2021-22 Money List Compare to the FedEx Cup Standings?

Since there have been no majors or WGC events in the nine tournaments contested so far this season, the money list and the FedEx Cup standings are fairly similar. The only major difference is Rory McIlroy, who is ninth in the Cup standings due to winning the only golf event he’s taken part in. But because that win came at the CJ Cup, which has been the richest event of the young season, he’s fourth on the money list.

Here is a chart comparing the FedEx Cup standings with the money list.

GOLFERFEDEX CUPEVENTSWINSMONEY EARNED (RANK)
Talor Gooch161$2.293 million (1)
Sam Burns241$1.944 million (3)
Sungjae Im341$1.632 million (5)
Hideki Matsuyama441$2.045 million (2)
Viktor Hovland531$1.436 million (6)
Max Homa641$1.313 million (10)
Matthew Wolff740$1.295 million (12)
Jason Kokrak831$1.370 million (7)
Rory McIlroyT-911$1.755 million (4)
Lucas HerbertT-941$1.170 million (13)

Top Performers of 2021-22 Season So Far

Sam Burns

Has been the most consistent performer so far this season. He won the first event he took part in (Sanderson Farms Championship) and has a 14th, 5th, and 7th place finish in his other three events. In addition, he performed well in unofficial money events in December, coming in third at the Hero World Challenge and second at the QBE Shootout.

Burns will be playing in his first Masters this April, but he will have to have an improved performance in the other three majors if he wants to fare well in the money list, as his best finish in five majors is a tie for 29th at the 2019 PGA Championship.

Talor Gooch

Has three top-5 finishes in six starts, including a win at The RSM Classic, a fourth at the Fortinet Championship, and a fifth at The CJ Cup. Gooch played in two of the four majors last year, coming in 33rd at The Open Championship and 44th at the PGA Championship, so like Burns, Gooch will have to have a strong performance in majors to stay atop the money list.

Hideki Matsuyama

Played in four events in September and October, winning the ZOZO Championship in his home country of Japan his last time out (despite Matsuyama not playing his best golf, self-admittedly). Matsuyama’s other results were a sixth at the Fortinet Championship and then 67th and 59th in back-to-back weeks in Las Vegas the Shriners Children’s Open and The CJ Cup. He remains more of a threat to finish high in the money list because he’s a solid performer in majors. The defending Masters champion routinely finishes in the top 25 in the year’s biggest events, and he also owns a runner-up finish at the 2017 U.S. Open and placed inside the top 5 twice at the PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy

Only played in one event since the Ryder Cup, but that was a win over Collin Morikawa at The CJ Cup. His strong performance in Dubai and also leading the Hero World Challenge after the first round shows that the former No. 1-ranked golfer in the world has rediscovered his game and is a threat in golf’s biggest tournaments in 2022.

Viktor Hovland

Won one official event this fall, defending his title at the World Wild Technology Championship at Mayakoba but then also won the Hero World Challenge amidst a 20-player all-star field, taking advantage of a rare rough day by Morikawa, who led the event going into the final round.

Threats From Outside the Top 10 for 2022 Golf Majors

Many of golf’s biggest names haven’t participated in the PGA Tour all that much (if at all) so far this season.

The biggest name expected to jump toward the top of the money list is Collin Morikawa. The defending Open Championship winner had a great fall, even though much of it occurred away from the PGA Tour. He was a major part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, not losing a match on the way to winning that competition.

He then finished second behind McIlroy at The CJ Cup and followed it up with a seventh-place finish in Japan at the ZOZO Championship. Morikawa then went to Dubai and became the first American to not only win the DP World Tour Championship event but also the season-long Race to Dubai points title to signify the season champion on the European Tour.

Morikawa then came to the Hero World Challenge, where he led going into the final round but struggled in the wind on Sunday to finish tied for fifth in the unofficial money event. Morikawa, 24, also already has wins in two majors under his belt, winning the PGA Championship in 2020 and the Open Championship in 2021. He also won a WGC title at Concession last season. There’s no reason to expect a diminished performance in the big events in 2022.

Jon Rahm

Hasn’t competed in the PGA Tour since finishing runner-up to Cantlay at the Tour Championship. While Rahm has performed extremely well in big events, including winning the U.S. Open last year and taking home The Memorial and BMW Championship in 2020, the current status of his game is in question. After losing in the Ryder Cup and then missing the cut at the Andalucia Masters on the European Tour, Rahm said that he was going to take a break from golf. Most expected him to be back for the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai last week, as he was third in the Race to Dubai season-long competition on the European Tour, but he withdrew from that event as well. He said that he will be back for the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January, but it will remain to be seen whether the world’s top-ranked golfer can return to his dominant self that he was in 2020 and ’21.

Xander Schauffele

Had an impressive 2021 despite not winning on the PGA Tour. He won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in August and helped lead the U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory in September. Prior to that event, he finished fifth at the Tour Championship, which was his third-straight top-five finish in the FedEx Cup standings. He was also incredibly consistent, making the cut in 20 of 22 events last season and finishing in the runner-up spot three times. Schauffele hasn’t won a major yet but was runner-up at the Masters in 2019 and has two top-5 finishes in his last three tries at the U.S. Open, so the gold medalist becoming a first-time major winner would not be a surprise in 2022.

Justin Thomas

Won The Players Championship last year but slumped for much of the summer before coming back to finish fourth at the Tour Championship, which was his fifth-straight top-10 finish in the standings, including a FedEx Cup win in 2017. Thomas has two starts so far this season, a solid 18th at The CJ Cup and a solo third at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, followed by a fifth at the Hero World Challenge. Despite only having one major win under his belt (2017 PGA Championship), Thomas has performed well in big events, winning a Players Championship, The CJ Cup twice, the BMW Championship, and two WGC events.

Dustin Johnson

Finished 17th in the money list last year but was third in 2020 when he went on a tear at the end of that year, winning the Masters and the Tour Championship. But he may be ready to return to a high level after becoming the first American in the modern era to go 5-0-0 in the Ryder Cup. Johnson also knows how to win in the big events, scoring six WGC wins in his career to go along with his Masters win and a U.S. Open title in 2016.

We haven’t heard much from Patrick Cantlay after winning the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship in back-to-back weeks last August, besides taking part in Team USA’s Ryder Cup win. Cantlay, who won at The Memorial as well last year, just needs a major win to cement his legacy, but he only has two top-5 finishes in majors so far. But if his iron and putting games are like they were in the FedEx Cup playoffs last year, expect him to be in contention plenty of times in 2022.

Bryson DeChambeau

The 2020 U.S. Open champion, hasn’t played in a tournament this season, but he has won at least once in the past five seasons. He was seventh at the Tour Championship last year before helping the U.S. team to a Ryder Cup win. After a dismal performance in The Match against Brooks Koepka, DeChambeau rebounded to lead the Hero World Challenge after two rounds before faltering over the weekend and sliding to 14th. But when it counts, expect DeChambeau to perform well in enough big events to end up toward the top of the money list by the end of the season.

2022 Golf Majors PGA Money List Picks and Odds

Morikawa appears poised for a breakout season on the PGA Tour, and that could include another major and/or WGC win or two. Oddsmakers agree, as he is a co-favorite with Rory McIlroy at +550. Despite the low odds, there is some value in the pick, as there’s no reason to believe Morikawa won’t have a stellar season due to the way he finished up 2021.

Burns at +1400 doesn’t have the history of performing well in majors, but it’s tough to argue with the way he’s played over the past few months. Even against stiff competition at the Hero World Challenge, he still finished in third place, so he could be a break-through major winner in 2022, which would give him a good shot in the Tour Championship and also in the overall money list.

The duo of Cantlay and Hovland, both at +2000, is also worth a shot. Cantlay, second on last year’s list after winning the FedEx Cup, is flying under the radar a bit since he hasn’t played in a PGA event since winning the Tour Championship in August, but he will be there when it comes to the big events this season. Hovland comes into the meat of the golf schedule as one of the hottest golfers in the fall, winning at Mayakoba and then again at the Hero World Challenge.

Looking further down the list at longshots, we start with Talor Gooch at +5000. The current points and money list leader has obviously shown promise in the fall, and while we don’t know how he will perform when the competition heats up in the big events, the +5000 number is tempting for a flier. The same goes for Scottie Scheffler at +5000. It appears that Scheffler, who was on the winning Ryder Cup team and was second in the Houston Open, is poised to get his first PGA Tour win sooner rather than later, and if that comes in one of the premier events of the year and propels him to a solid finish in the playoff events, he could surprise people with his long-awaited arrival.

Golf betting odds to win the 2022 FedEx Cup Championship courtesy of Jazzsports

GOLFERODDS TO WIN THE 2021-22 PGA MONEY LIST
Rory McIlroy+550
Collin Morikawa+550
Jon Rahm+700
Justin Thomas+800
Sam Burns+1400
Dustin Johnson+1600
Bryson DeChambeau+1600
Xander Schauffele+1600
Hideki Matsuyama+1800
Patrick Cantlay+2000
Viktor Hovland+2000

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