CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The leading money winner in world golf in 1997 was not Tiger Woods. It was Colin Montgomerie for the second consecutive year.
Montgomerie moved into first place with $3,366,900 on the strength of the $1 million he won at the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf last weekend.
Although the Andersen concluded in 1998, it was considered 1997 money because the bulk of the tournament was played last year.
The list, compiled for the annual book The World of Professional Golf, includes money won anywhere in the world in events with at least four players in the field and contested over at least 36 holes.
Ernie Els was second on the world money list with $3,188,962 on the strength of his U.S. Open victory, another PGA Tour win and two triumphs overseas.
PGA Championship winner Davis Love III was third with $2,861,953; Nick Price, who won the $1 Million Dollar Challenge in South Africa, was fourth with $2,517,716 and Woods rounded out the top five with $2,380,831.
Montgomerie became the first golfer to win over $3 million in a season in 1996 when he earned $3,071,442. Els joined Montgomerie in 1997 in cracking the $3 million mark.
Phil Mickelson renewed his equipment deal with Yonex at a cost to both sides. The five-year contract could earn Mickelson between $20 million and $25 million, depending on how many incentives he achieves, according to a source familiar with the contract.
In return, Yonex has language in the deal requiring Mickelson to have 14 Yonex clubs in his bag and to wear a hat or visor bearing the company's name, the source said.
It will be interesting to see if Mickelson sticks to those two provisions since he dislikes wearing a hat, carries a non-Yonex putter and at times drives with the Great Big Bertha.
Equipment companies are frequently willing to tolerate clubs from other companies in one of their player's bags as long as they get their name on the bag and hat, two very visible billboards on TV.
Another player who dislikes wearing a hat -- Montgomerie -- appears to have conceded to Callaway Golf on that issue. Montgomerie was wearing a Callaway visor during the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf.
John Daly -- another anti-hat guy -- gave in on the issue last year when Callaway came up with a white Hogan-style at bearing the company's name.
LPGA SKINS GAME:
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Laura Davies and Karrie Webb will meet this year in the eighth LPGA Skins Game played May 23-24 at the Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco, Texas.
The event, sponsored by JCPenney, has a $540,000 purse and will be televised Memorial Day weekend by ABC from 4-6 p.m. EDT on Saturday and 3:30-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Sorenstam won eight skins and $220,000 in last year's competition.
Bill Glasson, who had off-season surgery, is the only eligible player not competing in the Mercedes Championship. Glasson was at La Costa, however, indicating he is the likely winner of the Comeback Player of the Year Award which will be announced Friday night. ... Unlike last year when Tom Lehman, Mark Brooks and Phil Mickelson all had strong cases for Player of the Year honors, there is little drama in this year's awards voted on by players. Tiger Woods will be Player of the Year, Stewart Cink will be Rookie of the Year and Hale Irwin will be Senior Player of the Year. ... The most-compelling twosome in today's first round of the Mercedes Championships could be Greg Norman and Ernie Els. Woods plays with John Cook. And David Duval, trying to win in his fourth consecutive start, is in the first group with Gabriel Hjerstedt. ... Woods will play his first PGA Tour event with his new Titleist irons this week. He had played Mizuno irons for several years. "I have to build a whole new set of good memories with these," he said about the new clubs. ... Woods confirmed he would go to Thailand again this year, playing in the Johnnie Walker Classic the last weekend of January.
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