PGA Betting Guide: PGA Tour Money List Leader for 2019-20
With the NFL season finally upon us, it is tempting to load up your futures and props bankroll into some juicy odds on fun bets like most valuable player or obscure ones like which team will have the most defensive interceptions (actually a bet on FanDuel Sportsbook!). But save some of that allocation for PGA futures, specifically the top finishers on the Money List for the upcoming season.
While many NFL tickets can be ripped up by Halloween, the PGA season is so long and offers so many opportunities for big paydays that many bets are live even through the final major and FedEx Cup Playoffs. Investing early will give you a rooting interest all season long to go with your individual event bets and daily fantasy contests.
The player pool on the PGA Tour is insanely deep, with more talent than arguably any time in the history of the sport. Let's discuss some strategy and logistics for what we are looking for before getting into the bets.
Strategy for Money List Wagers
The best players in the world are going to top the Money List come year end one way or another. The list of the last 10 money list leaders is a who's who of the top players in the world over the past decade. Tellingly, all of them except Luke Donald have appeared inside the top five of the Money List at least one other time in that span.
|Year||Money List Leader||Times in Top 5|
Over Past 10 Years
The majors and WGC events always bring out strong fields because of their purses and FedEx Cup points, but other invitation-only or small field events can be a boost for the overall earnings. Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship and was top five at all four majors last season, but an October victory in a small field at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES accounted for almost 18% of his earnings on the year ($1,710,000).
Matt Kuchar and Xander Schauffele finished inside the top six on last year's Money List thanks to two victories each before January was even halfway over. Kuchar feasted on weaker fields in the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Sony Open, while Schauffele dominated small fields (albeit very strong ones) in the WGC-HSBC Champions (77 golfers) and the Sentry Tournament of Champions (just 33 golfers). Jon Rahm took home a cool $1 million for winning the 18-man Hero World Classic that didn't even count toward the official Money List.
That makes four of the top 10 earners in 2018-19 -- Koepka was first, Kuchar third, Schauffele sixth, and Rahm ninth -- with a victory before the calendar turned. Two others in the top 10 had runner up finishes in the swing season: Patrick Cantlay at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and Gary Woodland at THE CJ CUP.
Our breakdown shows that while performance in strong fields is important, we can also look to performance in the fall and winter and at least one prior top-five finish on the Money List as strong indicators when diving into bets further down the board. With apologies to Koepka (+280) , Rory McIlroy (+400), and Dustin Johnson (+800), the field is too strong and the season too long to get roped into such short odds for this type of wager. Keep in mind the Official Money List includes only PGA Tour-sanctioned events and does not include bonuses for the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 or FedEx Cup.
Jon Rahm (+1000) - Rahm was second in top 10s to McIlroy in 2018-19 with 12 such finishes. Had the $1 million win at the Hero counted, his ninth place finish on the Money list would have been fifth. He won't get as much credit for his wins last year given they came at the small field Hero and the team event in New Orleans, but he had a spectacular season and is primed to take another leap in 2019-20. He was also top five in the official Money List in 2017 and is undoubtedly ascending in his career. Despite the fact that Rahm has no career majors and just three official PGA Tour wins, the books are pricing him among the elites, and we should take him at this number while available. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship after a disastrous few holes, but he was T12 or better in the other three majors, THE PLAYERS, and all three Playoff events. He has crushed the January events on the West Coast each of the past two years.
Xander Schauffele (+2200) - Schauffele has flashed in small fields and majors throughout his short career, winning the former but coming up just short in the latter. It's only a matter of time for Xander, and once he gets his major, the confidence will be sky high week in and week out. He was just $81,509 short of fifth on last year's Money List, which could have been different had he just gained a couple more strokes throughout the season. Like Rahm, he is on the ascent -- his finishes in the Money List in his three professional seasons are 18th (2016-17), 12th (2017-18), and 6th (2018-19). In addition to his two early-season wins last year in strong fields, Schauffele made the cut in all four majors, including top fives at The Masters and the U.S. Open.
Bryson DeChambeau (+5000) - This time last year, you'd be forgiven for thinking DeChambeau might just be the best golfer in the world. He had just finished fourth on the overall Money List after closing 2017-18 with back-to-back Playoff wins at THE NORTHERN TRUST and the Dell Technologies Championship followed by consecutive 19th place finishes. He wasted no time getting back to the winner's circle with a victory at the Shriners' Hospitals for Children Open in the swing season, which moved him into the rarefied top five in the Official World Golf Ranking. He maintained that rank until a forgettable stretch from February through May. The major championship record is spotty but not without respectable finishes, and you can be sure no one is more aware of that than DeChambeau himself.
Jason Day (+5000) - The former number-one player in the world undoubtedly has the credentials -- he is a major champion and PLAYERS champion, and he was the runner up on the Money List in both 2015 and 2016. Since then, injuries and other health-related issues have accumulated and capped his upside. But he appears to be in fine condition despite a lackluster close to the season, and he'll have a few shots to take home big money in the swing season with commitments to THE CJ CUP in South Korea and the new Zozo Championship in Japan this fall. He's played the WGC-HSBC Champions in China each of the past two years and is expected there again as well. He typically skips the stateside swing events, but he showed good form last fall with a T5 at the CJ CUP and a T11 in China. He also has been at his best in recent years in the California courses in January and February, including top fives at the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am last year.