The USPGA season reaches its climax at the Tour Championship this week. Ralph Ellis looks at what the huge prize on offer might mean for the Ryder Cup.
"The Americans get far more motivated by playing for their individual prize cash than they ever do for the glory of team success. It’s one of the reasons there’s value in backing Europe to win the Ryder Cup again at the generous odds of 3.55/2."
They say that momentum in sport is everything. Winning breeds confidence, confidence creates winners, and so on.
But it doesn't always work out like that, which is why Darren Clarke might just be hoping that Dustin Johnson walks away from this week's Tour Championship with the $10million cheque that also goes to the winner of the FedEx Cup.
That's certainly what Betair's markets expect to happen. This was the year when, having repeatedly got into contention in majors but then missed out, he finally broke the barrier to win the US Open. And since then he's pretty much established himself as the number one in the world.
He arrived at East Lake this week leading the rankings and 2.265/4 to secure the FedEx Cup and that massive payday that goes with it. Momentum is certainly with him - after the shock of failing to make the cut at the USPGA he's come back with a steady 18th at the Barclays, followed by eighth at the Deutsche Bank and then winning the BMW Championship.
I can't compete with the brilliance of Steve Rawlings' superbly detailed analysis of the Tour Championship prospects. Suffice to say that Johnson is 6.25/1 favourite to carry on and become only the fourth man to win the BMW and Tour Championship double, which, as he's already top of the FedEx rankings, would obviously guarantee him the prize.
And that's where Ryder Cup captain Clarke might just allow himself a little smile if he succeeds. Because while you might think that going into the bi-annual battle between America and Europe on the back of the richest win in golf might be a huge confidence booster, history actually shows the opposite.
In 2012 Brandt Snedeker was the man who picked up the big cheque and moved on to Medinah, with the Americans expecting he could sprinkle some of his stardust onto their team.
Instead together with Jim Furyk he got beaten by Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the first morning foursomes, lost again in the identical match on Saturday, before getting whipped five and three by Paul Lawrie in the singles. Nil points.
Two years earlier it was Furyk celebrating at East Lake before flying to Wales. Not picked for the first day to give him a rest, he then got a scruffy foursomes half alongside Rickie Fowler before losing a fourball with Dustin Johnson as his partner, and getting beaten again in the singles by Luke Donald. His half a point was the worst performance of any of the beaten US team.
The accusation has always been that the Americans get far more motivated by playing for their individual prize cash than they ever do for the glory of team success. It's one of the reasons there's value in backing Europe to win the Ryder Cup again at the generous odds of 3.55/2.
The impact of the big price after the Tour Championship has already had a negative impact on the team. After the shambles of Billy Horschel winning in 2014, but missing out on a Ryder Cup place because the team had already been picked, captain Davis Love III has saved his last pick for Sunday night.
All that has done, however, has been to create a sideshow around Bubba Watson which is not going to help the dynamic in the team room before the first ball is struck on Friday week.
Somebody will walk away from East Lake this Sunday with 10 million dollars. The biggest winner, however, could still be Europe's captain Clarke.