Money list drama nothing new for Thatcher

Roland Thatcher hits it right on No. 18 during the third round at the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

Roland Thatcher hits it right on No. 18 during the third round at the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Sure, it’s easy to dismiss the chase to finish in the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list as trivial. After all, the player who finishes 126th will still earn in excess of $700,000.

But there’s no doubt the pursuit for the top 125 causes players plenty of anxiety. Just ask Roland Thatcher, the 36-hole leader at this year’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the final event of the PGA Tour season.

Thatcher was sitting on his couch after missing the cut at last year’s event. His spot in the top 125 was in danger, and he had no control over his destiny.

All he could do was watch, and thanks to today’s instant-information age, was constantly abreast of his standing. Thatcher called it “probably the most stressful weekend of golf I’ve ever had.”

He came to the final event of last season at No. 119 on the money list. Entering the final round, Thatcher was projected to finish 123rd on the money list. It was a longshot, but because players behind him on the money list were having good weekends at Disney, there was a chance Thatcher could be bounced from the top 125.

“I don’t think I was sober by the end of it. I had a few cocktails to get me through it. We tried to avoid watching the golf, watching the computer, but I was unsuccessful in both,” Thatcher told me at this year’s Players Championship. A spot in the Players field is just one of the perks afforded to the top 125 finishers on the money list.

“I spent way too much time that weekend looking at (the computer). People don’t understand how different No. 125 to No. 126 is. My poor wife, she refused to stick around for it. A buddy came over and essentially babysat me for the rest of Sunday.”

Thatcher, an Auburn grad, has spent the past nine years bouncing between the Nationwide and PGA tours.

“Hopefully there’s no more bouncing down,” he said. “I like it up here.”

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