I read an article on PGATOUR.com by Melanie Houser about Steve Flescher, on his being No. 126 on the 2011 PGA Tour money list and what he needed to do to crap into the all-important Top 125 on the money list.

All that's hanging on the line is all-exempt status on the PGA Tour in 2012. If you're not a past champion, it's back to q-school or a prayer for sponsor exemptions and a year of uncertainty. There's always the PGA Tour's minor league Nationwide Tour to bounce around in, but everyone knows the money is in the big leagues.

It got me wondering what the difference has been between No. 125 and 126 on the money list has been in the past five years. Going further, I decided to check out the difference between No. 1 and 2 and see what the difference is there as well. How close could it really be between both groups? Let's take a look...

2011 - current through the Frys.com Open
1. Luke Donald, $5,832,214
2. Webb Simpson, $5,786,243
Difference - $45,971

125. Matt Jones, $602,352
126. Steve Flescher, $594,622
Difference - $7,730

1. Matt Kuchar, $4,910,477
2. Jim Furyk, $4,809,622
Difference - $100,855

125. Troy Merritt, $786,977
126. Johnson Wagner, $753,802
Difference - $33,175

1. Tiger Woods, $10,508,163
2. Steve Stricker, $6,332,636
Difference - $4,175,527

125. Jimmy Walker, $662,683
126.Will MacKenzie, $659,686
Difference - $2,997

1. Vijay Singh, $6,601,094
2. Tiger Woods, $5,775,000
Difference - $826,094

125. Martin Laird, $852,752
126. Shane Bertsch, $841,248
Difference - $11,504

1. Tiger Woods, $10,867,052
2. Phil Mickelson, $5,819,988
Difference - $5,047,064

125. Mathias Greenberg, $785,180
126. Ben Curtis, $772,321
Difference - $12,859

When you consider the disparity in pay players make that end up finishing atop the money list and at the end of the cut line, the difference isn't all that striking. Take out the years that Tiger was playing out of his mind and making more money than Donald Trump and I think we can all agree the battle for 1/2 and 125/126 is a similarly tight race.

With average Tour winnings for first place somewhere around $1 million, give or take a few marquee and second-rate events, the average difference between 1 and 2 ($243,230 - minus Tiger's ridiculous years) and 125/126 ($13,365) is comparable.

All of that math to make a simple point... the battle to be No. 1 is just as important as No. 125. I say we spice up the money list contest a little bit and add a FedEx Cup-like bonus to it. If No. 1 and No. 2 finish inside the total all-time average difference (someone else can do that math, my brain hurts), they play an 18-hole match play event for $5 million. Same goes for 125 and 126, except no money is involved. If the 126 beats the 125, that golfer gets exempt status too.

It's been a great year on the PGA Tour, but there's always room for improvement and good made-for-TV events to make sure we don't lose interest at the end of the year.