Last month I was chatting with Intern Kevin, who sounded more chipper than usual talking golf in the fall. “Hey, I’ve got something interesting for you to write about — Troy Merritt could win a million bucks and lose his card on the same day! Probably not what the organizers had in mind,” he said.
Why, that’s an interesting conundrum! At the time Merritt wasn’t in the top-125 on the money list (the players who keep their Tour cards for next year). But a strong finish at the Frys.com bumped him up substantially. Going into the Fall Series finale at this week’s Children Miracles Network Classic, Merritt is No. 121 on the money list. He’s also leading the season-long Kodak Challenge, with the winner taking home a cool million.
What’s more, the million-dollar prize is more than the check this week’s winner of the actual tournament! Not to mention more than Merritt’s total earnings of $760,798 this season. Rickie Fowler and Aaron Baddeley trail Merritt by one shot and are both in the field. Fowler and Merritt have shared some friendly banter via Twitter — the two are warming up for their Kodak Challenge showdown over a fierce putt-putt match.
Naturally, Merritt is more focused with keeping his job than snagging the Kodak Challenge (which isn’t the worst consolation prize).
“That’s my first goal, actually, this week [to play well in the tournament and move up on the money list]. It’s not to win the Kodak Challenge,” said Merritt. “It’s to maintain my card for next year. That was my one main goal at the beginning of the year, and I’m very close to achieving that. And I know making the cut and playing well on the weekend, a nice solid finish will secure that, and that’ll make me probably happiest. It wouldn’t be winning the Kodak. It would be keeping the card.”
Chances are there won’t be enough movement on the money list to push Merritt out of the top 125. But there still is one, like say, if he misses the cut, and a bunch of guys behind him play exceptionally well to move past him. It would take a perfect storm. Merritt’s situation obviously isn’t the worst. But seriously, what were the chances that the guy leading the Kodak Challenge might also have to fight for his card? I guess he’s just a really good par-3 player!
“I think the only other way the week would be even greater is if I won the tournament,” added Merritt. “So we’ll take baby steps, and if we achieve all three, we achieve all three, but just the first two would be nice.”
if I’m Troy, I just focus my priorities on winning the tournament. Then the rest takes care of itself.
(Photo by Getty Images)