(Tiger shares a laugh with tournament host Arnold Palmer after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlanda, Fla. in March. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Tiger Woods is back!
Back atop the PGA Tour's money list leaders, that is.
With $8,407,839 added to his bank account in 2013, Woods has locked up the No. 1 spot on the money list for the 10th time in his career. Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson trail by almost $3 million and currently sit at $5.48 million and 45.30 million banked this year, respectively, with one event left to play. And Woods did it playing a lighter tournament schedule (15 events) compared to Kuchar (22) and Mickelson (20).
The winner of this week's Tour Championship in Atlanta will pocket $1,440,000, but Woods has built up too big of a lead to be jumped. In a majorless-year marred with injuries, rules infractions and one-too-many photo albums on Facebook with his girlfriend, Tiger's five wins have fallen by the wayside as quietly as five wins possibly could. (The only players with multiple Tour wins are Kuchar, Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott, each with two victories.)
But the bank accounts don't lie. This will be the first time for Woods to lead the tour's money list since his $10.51 million 2009 campaign where he won six events, but no majors. Does this mean he's back? Considering the Player of the Year debate is still being entertained given Woods' season, probably not. But it is a step
Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Kuchar each had a year on top of the money list in Woods' absence. McIlroy stands at 39th on the 2013 money list, while Donald is currently 41st. How quickly things change. Donald was the World No. 1 just two years ago and led the Tour with $6.68 million earned, while Tiger toiled in a winless 2011 season. Now, Tiger is back atop the money list, and Donald missed the cut at half of this year's major tournaments.
The only two other players to displace Woods from No. 1 since 1997 are David Duval in '98 and Vijay Singh in '03, '04 and '08.