al Sutton, step aside. Wait for it, wait for it: there’s a new career leading-money winner among golfers in cutting, and his name is Tom Watson.
Cutting, a western-style equestrian event rooted in ranching in which a horse and rider handle cattle during a 212-minute performance, is a sport in which his wife, Hilary, excelled. Watson took refuge in cutting rather than golf after her passing in late 2019, as Golfweek reported (March issue, 2020). Watson said in the piece that he had earned $28,000 to date and set a goal of passing Sutton, who had earned $42,000 in his career in the sport.
Watson texted Sutton in October to inform him that he had surpassed Sutton, the former PGA champion, two-time Players champion, and 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, as the new king of the money list — at least among professional golfers.
Watson stated, “I said, ‘Don’t tell anyone how much it cost to get there,’ and he chuckled.”
It’s just the latest example of Watson, the hard-nosed competitor, and proof of how involved he’s grown in the sport to move from novice to good enough to win a belt buckle, the traditional cutting event reward. Watson has earned his position the old-fashioned way.
“When I first got pro in golf, I knew what worked for me, and that was to work as hard as I could,” Watson remarked.
In contrast to golf, judges score runs on a scale of 60 to 80, with the higher the number, the better. Watson’s greatest score at the time of the last Golfweek story was a 74, which he described as the equivalent of shooting a 66 in golf. He’s since recorded a 76 and a couple of 75s. Watson estimated his cutting handicap to be around a ten.
Watson explained, “I have a pretty wonderful horse that makes me look nice.”
With a demanding schedule in the saddle, he’s already planning to add to his winnings in 2022.
“I have a show in Abilene the first week of January, when I’ll show my two and three-year-olds and will probably show at least twice in February, then I’ll go play in the Mitsubishi Electric Hualalai event on the Senior Tour.” On the Senior Tour, that will be my only appearance (next year). Then, during Nationals in March and early April, there’s a large event called the Super Stakes, when I’ll be presenting my two and three-year-olds who have turned four.”
Watson’s next target is $50,000 in career earnings.