Every professional golfer wants to win every time they play. Naturally. And, of course, the sooner the wins happens, the better.
For top-name professionals, though, winning early in the season means something a little different. They make plenty of money, and they have typically secured opportunities to play in the major championships because of their spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. However, winning early in the year has some benefits that are not as easy to quantify.
Xander Schauffele, who has made a habit in his career of winning early in the season, explained what it means to win early in terms of both peace of mind and approaching the rest of the season differently.
"Us pros, we kind of stock our calendar how we see fit. When you win early and get points up on the board early it's really nice and it really frees you up almost in terms of what you can do the rest of the year in terms of flexibility and taking a tournament off if you're tired or adding one if you want to add more points," he said.
Of course, a player get an invite to the Sentry Tournament of Champions if they win, meaning an early-season win sets up a spot in a designated event for the next year.
Also, regular-season FedEx Cup points now mean more than ever. For the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season, only the top 70 players in the standings qualify for the playoffs -- down from the top 125 since the concept's inception in 2007. That means racking up points is crucial to qualify for the playoff events and have a chance to get to East Lake, win $18 million and get into all the majors for next year.
Knowing all that, no wonder Schauffele said, "So definitely winning early makes things very nice."