Brian Allee-Walsh

Martin Piller comfortable sharing golf spotlight with his wife

DAVID GRUNFELD/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 People leave the course in the rain during the first round of the Zurich Classic golf tournament in Avondale, La., Thursday.
DAVID GRUNFELD/ASSOCIATED PRESS People leave the course in the rain during the first round of the Zurich Classic golf tournament in Avondale, La., Thursday. AP

The numbers don't lie.

When it comes to dollars and cents and world rankings in professional golf, Web.com Tour graduate Martin Piller plays second fiddle to his LPGA star wife, Gerina Piller, who's currently ranked 20th worldwide and vying for a spot on the 2016 U.S. Summer Olympic team.

That's OK, he said. She's got game, and plenty of it.

You may remember Gerina from the 2015 Solheim Cup. She played a major role in our country's historic comeback against Europe to retain the coveted cup last September in Germany, finishing with a sparkling 3-0-1 record. Chances are you may have never heard of Martin, who climbed to 195 in the world rankings after his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour last week.

Same last name, different strokes.

"I have no reservations about it," said Martin Piller, who failed to complete his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday at TPC Louisiana because of a five-hour rail delay. "She's had a better career than I have in relation to our peers.

"I don't care if she beats me. I only care if guys out here beat me. That's my main concern. If I'm getting whipped up every week out here, OK, now I'm concerned. At the end of the day it all goes to the same bank account for us."

The reigning King and Queen of U.S. pro golf enjoyed a banner payday last weekend, combining to pocket around $350,000 with top 5 finishes at the Valero Texas Open and the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

Martin earned $233,740 for his T4 finish at the TPC San Antonio and Gerina won $117,163 for her T3 finish at the Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco.

Martin actually held a 1-shot lead at the turn in Sunday's final round before losing by three shots to eventual champion Charley Hoffman. Piller's winnings and finish resulted in personal bests on the PGA Tour.

"Her being in contention wasn't anything new because she does that a lot," Martin said. "The only thing that was new was me being in contention. My game has been pretty good all year but as far as being in the mix to win it, it hasn't really happened till now."

Gerina, 31, remains in the mix for one of four berths on the women's U.S. Olympic team. She currently is No. 4, behind Lexi Thompson (No. 3 in the world), Stacy Lewis (No. 4) and Christie Kerr (No. 16) and slightly ahead of Brittany Lincicome (No. 21).

Gerina continues her pursuit of an Olympic berth at this week's Volunteers of America Texas Shootout at the Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. Meantime, Martin Piller, a five-time winner on the Web.com Tour, resumes his quest to gain fulltime status on the PGA Tour with his second appearance at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

He made the cut in 2011 but bottomed out at 16-over 304 after weekend rounds of 80-81. In 10 PGA Tour events this season, he's made six cuts and earned $331,185.

"We talk about starting a family a lot, but not anytime soon," Martin said. "Maybe down the road. Golf is something that could be here a short time and I want to let her play as long as she wants to play. She's almost in the prime of her career, and it's hard to play a whole lot of golf carrying a child in your belly."

Brian Allee-Walsh, is a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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