There’s gold in them thar hills” warbled Frankie Marvin some nine decades ago.
And today it’s a golden era for professional golfers good enough to make it on to the richest golf tour – the US PGA Tour.
Unlike all other sports where athletes retire long before the age of 40, professional golfers on the PGA Tour can keep playing and raking in the coin as long as they maintain their form and health.
Just ask Phil Mickelson, who won the US PGA Championship at the age of 50 to pocket a cool $2.8m.
And then there is 63-year-old German Bernhard Langer, who has accumulated more than $39m on the Champions Tour alone.
And it doesn’t look as if he plans on slowing down any time soon.
Players like Tom Watson and Hale Irwin arguably have won more money on the seniors’ tour than they did on the regular tour.
Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Darren Clark, John Daly, Colin Montgomerie have joined the conga line of stars on the Champions Tour and are reaping the rewards for their effort.
But it’s the players on the PGA Tour that are growing super rich.
Well, the good one are and the lesser stars are doing quite nicely for themselves.
As at July 1, 130 players on the PGA Tour had passed the $1m mark in earnings since the start of the 2020-21 season.
At the end of the financial year, Spaniard Jon Rahm led the way with more than $8m from 18 events.
He was followed by Bryson DeChambeau ($8,120,700 – 16 events), Justin Thomas ($7,850,310 – 18), Patrick Cantley ($7,443,820 – 19), Harris English ($7,347,746 – 21), Jordan Spieth ($6,666,377 – 20) and Louis Oosthuizen ($6,589,086 – 16).
And Louis hadn’t even won a tournament, but 35 players had scored at least one victory as at July 1, 2021.
The Australian players too are making hay while the sun shines on the PGA Tour and are keeping their bank managers happy.
Cameron Smith was 13th on the money list with $5,747,530 from 19 events played.
Other Aussies: Marc Leishman ($3,990,762 – 20 events), Matt Jones ($3,166,344 – 24), Cam Davis ($1,580,727 – 20), Jason Day ($1,553,810 – 19), Adam Scott ($1,375,829 – 15), Cameron Percy ($737,330 – 210), Rhein Gibson ($209,047 – 17), Aaron Baddeley ($117,430 – 16), Greg Chalmers ($81,459 – 8) and John Senden ($61,203 – 9).
So there you are Aussie young guns – get cracking and get on the US PGA Tour and start getting your hands on those big $$$.
There’s plenty to go around.
For the record, Greg Norman topped the money list three times.
In 1986, he played 19 PGA Tour events, won three times and banked $868,080.
He finished on top of the money list again in 1990 winning $2.1m in prizemoney courtesy of two victories in 17 outings and in 1995 the Shark picked up $2,192,473 after three wins in his 16 appearances.
Today a player wins that amount of money for a single victory on the US PGA Tour.
Just last month Aussie Cam Davis banked close to $1.8m after winning the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic.