It’s easy to look at winning as the only thing that matters in a golf tournament. But when we look at the payouts earned by Brooks Koepka and his nearest competitor at the U.S. Open, we see that it’s not quite true.
U.S. Open Payouts, Top 5:
1. Brooks Koepka, $2,160,000
2. Tommy Fleetwood, $1,296,000
3. Dustin Johnson, $804,023
4. Patrick Reed, $563,642
5. Tony Finau,$469,460
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 17, 2018
Tommy Fleetwood’s final round 63 wasn’t quite good enough to win. But it’s hard to feel too bad for a man going home with nearly $1.3 million. When we look at Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, and Tony Finau, it gets interesting.
Per Rovell’s numbers, a two-way tie for second would have been worth $1,050,011.50. A two-way tie for third would have earned the golfers $683,832.50. Finally, a two-way tie for fourth would have been worth $516,551.
Keep those numbers in mind as we remember what happened on the 18th hole to Johnson, Reed, and Finau.
Johnson was never going to catch Fleetwood for second. But he made birdie on the 72nd hole. As it turned out, that bought DJ more than $120,000.
Reed, on the other hand, made bogey. If he had made birdie, he would have tied Fleetwood and made nearly $500,000 more than he ended up making. A par would have bought him more than $120,000.
Finally, we have Finau. While Finau is certainly an accomplished golfer, he’s the least decorated of anyone in the top-five. So, the money means the most to him and his career.
Finau drove the ball into shin-high rough on the 18th. He technically could have tied Koepka had he holed his second shot and could have tied Fleetwood with a birdie. But frankly, neither scenario was realistic.
Even still, a par would have been realistic. Had that happened, he would have tied DJ for third and come away better than $214,000 richer. Even a bogey would have meant an extra $47,000 in Finau’s account.
So, next time you’re watching a tournament where the winner is all but decided, just remember that every shot counts.