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Trash Talking Battle for Money Title on PGA Tour Heats Up: #bringiton

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2011

Webb Simpson chases money title at McGladrey's Classic
Webb Simpson chases money title at McGladrey's ClassicSam Greenwood/Getty Images

As the gentle roar of the private jets drowns out the wail of gulls at Sea Island, something exceptional has happened.  The Money Title just got interesting again. 

Long forgotten in the Tiger Woods' headlines of the last 15 years, this time around, the battle between Webb Simpson, late season darling of the PGA Tour, and Luke Donald, world No. 1, is heating up.

The prize: biggest bank account at the end of the season. 

With his finish in the FedEx, Donald was poised to be leading money winner on two tours, a feat that has seemed impossible until this season. No one has ever done it.  Donald had not planned to play any fall series events.  

But Webb Simpson, approximately $69,000 behind Donald, entered the McGladrey Classic on Sea Island.  He fired a first round 63, and the battle was joined.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to play, but Luke played well all year, and since I started making a run for the money title, it became pretty important to me to win,” Simpson said before the start of the McGladrey Classic. “If you win the money list, you’re probably added to a list of 50 guys.”  

(Actually it’s less than that. Twenty different players have won the award since the PGA Tour was formed in 1968.  It was named after Arnold Palmer in 1981. Included are: Billy Casper, Frank Beard, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Craig Stadler, Hal Sutton, Curtis Stsrange, Greg Norman, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, Nick Price, Tom Lehman, Tiger Woods, David Duval and Vijay Singh.)

Luke Donald at Madrid Masters last week.
Luke Donald at Madrid Masters last week.Julian Finney/Getty Images

After Simpson added McGladrey to his schedule, Donald threw his golf glove into the ring earlier today and entered next week’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic in an effort to secure his place in history. 

Simpson finished his round after the weekly 5 pm deadline that the PGA Tour has for players to confirm entry for the following week, but he was allowed 30 minutes after his round to contact Tour headquarters to commit to next week's event.  It’s the closest thing we will see to a soap opera cliff hanger in golf for a while.

“I’m gonna play next week,” he said after shooting -3 to tie Michael Thompson at -10.  “I thought Luke was definitely going to play.”

He said he thought about what would happen if he did not enter next week and Donald surged ahead of him.  “I’d feel pretty dumb,” he added. “ I’m thinking he’s kind of thinking the same thing I’m thinking, that if one of us was going to play, the other one really needed to.”

Although Simpson said that when he committed to McGladrey, he basically, in his mind, also committed to Disney.  “ I didn’t want him to know that!”  Simpson added with a grin.

Donald has added his two cents via Twitter, and he’s even trash talked: “There was never really a decision to be made, I have a chance of making history. See you all at Disney next week #bringiton.”  

Simpson
SimpsonSam Greenwood/Getty Images

Luke Donald trash talking is, well, like Webb Simpson trash talking.  It’s one of those things you can’t imagine happening.  They are just too polite.

The last time there was anything resembling a trash talking battle for the money title was 2003.  Vijay Singh had a chance to overtake Tiger Woods as leading money winner, and he added tournaments to do it. 

''I'm in the best position to win the money title. I'm playing well, I've got two tournaments to go, and I'm playing one extra tournament than Tiger. If I win next week, he can win the week after. He ain't going to beat me,” Singh told golf reporter Cliff Brown of the New York Times.

Woods, who already had five money titles at the time, basically abdicated and did not enter additional tournaments. He left the crown for Singh. 

The money title was named after Arnold Palmer because back in the day, he was the first to win $1 million. The milestone came in 1968 after a second place finish at the PGA Championship in San Antonio.  It was 13 years after he turned professional.  Today’s players can win $1 million in one week at 31 PGA Tour events every year.

Kathy Bissell is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first hand.

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