The conclusion of THE PLAYERS means it’s time to check in on how the top 125 for 2013 are progressing, and it also means we have passed the halfway point of the 2013 PGA TOUR season. For the purposes of our rankings, that means we have to take the current FedExCup points standings a little more seriously in the past because there are less opportunities to make big moves.
Following Adam Scott’s win at the Masters, we may have gotten a nice preview of what the U.S. Open at Merion will look like when Graeme McDowell bested Webb Simpson in a playoff at Harbour Town. As the rankings below reveal, the majors from this point forward set up nicely for G-Mac.
As the TOUR jumped a time zone over to New Orleans, Billy Horschel cashed in on the potential he’s flashed for the better part of the last 12 months with a win at TPC Louisiana. While he missed the cut at THE PLAYERS, his confidence will produce more big-time results this year. He is this year’s Jason Dufner.
Normally one of the jewels of the PGA TOUR season, Quail Hollow took a black eye due to poor greens but Derek Ernst didn’t seem to mind. The rookie topped David Lynn in a playoff that touted a star-studded leaderboard for much of the tournament but faded into a Cinderella story down the closing stretch. Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney are still kicking themselves.
All the big names showed up at TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS, and David Lingmerth nearly pulled a Derek Ernst and stole the show. The only man that could fend him off was Tiger Woods. This may have been Woods’ most impressive victory since the 2008 U.S. Open given his past struggles at THE PLAYERS.
The rankings below are not the current FedExCup standings; rather, they reflect an educated guess as to how the final 125 will look leading into the Playoffs. It takes into account a players form and the courses he has remaining to play. In parenthesis is where they ranked in our third edition.
Last season, it took 363 points to secure a spot in the top 125. That means John Rollins, 66th in the current standings with 372 points is the last man relatively secure. It also means that anyone not in the top 100 still has plenty of work to do in reserving a tee time for The Barclays.
Here we go:
Rank Golfer (Preseason Rank) Comment
1 Tiger Woods (1) If I have to explain this one, you’re at the wrong website.
2 Brandt Snedeker (2) Top 10s at the Masters and THE PLAYERS make him a huge threat in the remaining majors.
3 Rory McIlroy (3) Feels like he could pick up a win at any time. It’s the putter and not the ball-striking letting him down on the weekends right now.
4 Adam Scott (10) Picked up a T19 at THE PLAYERS in his only start since the Masters. Should be considered a threat every time he tees it up.
5 Graeme McDowell (26) Win at Harbour Town is encouraging for this year’s major rotation. He should be on your very short list for Merion.
6 Kevin Streelman (23) Since the Masters, he’s picked up three top-six finishes and has moved inside the top 40 in the Official World Golf Rankings, virtually locking him into all of the remaining majors.
7 Jason Day (22) Currently 16th in the FEC standings and entered this week's HP Byron Nelson Championship as one of the favorites.
8 Billy Horschel (20) If he responds to his first victory like Streelman has, then this is way too low.
9 Dustin Johnson (4) He’s back to seeming a little disinterested at the moment and the remaining majors don’t favor bombers.
10 Matt Kuchar (5) Went through a bit of a rough stretch at the Heritage and PLAYERS, but his game is suited to all types of courses making him a threat on any given week.
11 Justin Rose (7) Missed cut at THE PLAYERS isn’t a big deal given his record there, but time for him to get moving.
12 Keegan Bradley (6) Missed the only two cuts since the Masters, but returned to the site of his first win this week and promptly opened with a course-record 60.
13 Phil Mickelson (12) I could basically copy and paste my comments from the last update. We have no idea when Phil will show up and when he won’t.
14 Luke Donald (18) Reminds me of McIlroy in that different parts of his game are clicking at different times but he hasn’t put it all together quite yet. Donald has a T3 at the Heritage and a T19 at TPC Sawgrass since we last checked in.
15 Sergio Garcia (16) He’s turning into Phil. His ‘Tin Cup’ impersonation down the stretch at THE PLAYERS was almost surreal.
16 Webb Simpson (27) Came alive with a runner-up at the RBC Heritage and could mount a spirited defense of his U.S. Open title at Merion in June.
17 Steve Stricker (15) Another guy that the remaining major venues seem to suit. Be aware that he has slowed from his torrid start.
18 D.A. Points (36) I’m struggling to find a comparison. When he gets into contention, he’s a beast. He and Billy Horschel seem joined at the hip at the moment.
19 Russell Henley (33) A T6 at the Heritage illustrates that we still can’t fully understand when he will show up. Only that he will from time to time.
20 Bill Haas (9) May have seen the best window to win in 2013 close with the impending birth of his first child imminent. He’s an interesting watch between now and our next update. If you have doubts, then hold off on him.
21 Hunter Mahan (8) A bit of an enigma, he hasn’t had a top 15 since February but always seems to linger just outside of the top two pages of the leaderboard. Could go either way at any time.
22 Chris Kirk (19) Making cuts like crazy, I can’t decide if he’s Brendon de Jonge or a sleeping giant with a big second half in the cards. Could be a serious threat to win at Colonial.
23 Charles Howell III (14) Two missed cuts, a T10 and a T66 in his last four starts may mean that he’s finally starting to hit a wall.
24 Lee Westwood (25) The Bo Van Pelt award is still in play for all of his top 10s, but what is remarkable is his scrambling. Currently ranks fifth in scrambling after finishing 2012 at 189th.
25 Jim Furyk (28) Laid an egg at TPC Sawgrass but still has a number of courses with solid history on the schedule.
26 Jimmy Walker (29) Made every cut this year and is 3-for-3 (all top 25s) since we last checked in.
27 Bubba Watson (17) Like several of the bombers, he's one of the guys that I fear may be running out of appropriate venues for his skill set.
28 Charl Schwartzel (11) Each of his stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR have been worse than the one before. It’s a trend that has to reverse, but it looks like he may have peaked in the offseason.
29 Ian Poulter (21) Hasn’t been playing well of late, but still love the way the remaining majors set up for him.
30 Martin Laird (31) Not showing up with any consistency, but when he does, watch out.
31 Bo Van Pelt (41) A T6 at the Wells Fargo provided him with his first top 10 and posted two rounds in the 60s at TPC Sawgrass. Seems to be getting close.
32 Nick Watney (42) Top 15s in his last three starts before missing the cut at THE PLAYERS after a tough loss at Quail Hollow.
33 Henrik Stenson (40) It’s tough to do, but we have to forget about the Henrik Stenson we saw in 2011 and 2012 all together. He’s first in GIR and total driving.
34 Fredrik Jacobson (30) Junk Man missed out on a top 25 for the first time in his last eight starts at THE PLAYERS last week. That was quite a streak.
35 Brian Gay (35) Seems to be stuck in neutral.
36 Rickie Fowler (13) He’s entering what was a very bad stretch of his 2012 season on a very poor current trend.
37 Luke Guthrie (39) Picked up a top 10 in New Orleans and it won’t be long until he gets to see a few courses for a second time.
38 David Lynn (64) Too bad he’s about to take an extended break from play in the U.S., as he was playing excellent golf.
39 Jason Dufner (24) While the next two weeks are tournaments where Dufner has feasted, his top-10 count for 2013 remains at zero.
40 Tim Clark (48) Still a handful of places left for him to pop up.
41 Zach Johnson (49) Opened with a 68 at the Wells Fargo and a 66 at THE PLAYERS before fading in both. Plenty of good course fits coming up in the next two months.
42 Brendon de Jonge (44) Trending pretty true to his recent history.
43 Marc Leishman (67) He’s quietly one of the hottest players on TOUR and heading to a course where he has three top 12s in four starts (TPC Four Seasons).
44 Scott Piercy (32) Missed the cut in both his tries since we last checked in, prompting a fade.
45 John Merrick (38) A T22 at Quail Hollow broke a streak of zero top 50s since his win at the Northern Trust Open. Pretty much crickets otherwise.
46 Boo Weekley (55) Hasn’t missed a cut since his first start of the year and added another top 10 in New Orleans.
47 Michael Thompson (34) It’s been quiet lately for the first-time winner. Could be a dark horse for Merion.
48 Ryan Moore (57) His T6 at Wells Fargo was his first top 10 since the Waste Management Phoenix Open. I’m quick to buy back in.
49 David Lingmerth (94) Locked up his card for a sophomore season thanks to a gutsy performance at TPC Sawgrass. Love to see him run the putt well past the hole on the 72nd hole when it had to go in.
50 Josh Teater (58) Currently 32nd in FEC points, so it's hard to fade him much further.
51 Derek Ernst (NR) Won the Wells Fargo Championship with no sustained form heading into the event. This could be similar to Ted Potter, Jr. of 2012.
52 Cameron Tringale (37) Was trending well, and then missed his last four cuts. It’s not panic time, but the antenna should be up.
53 Angel Cabrera (43) Settling back into a familiar pattern of unspectacular results.
54 Robert Garrigus (45) While it’s getting better, still hasn’t picked up a top 20 since the Match Play.
55 Kyle Stanley (106) Watch out. The short putts are starting to fall and he posted back-to-back top 10s in New Orleans and Wells Fargo for the first time since his P2-win burst in 2012.
56 Scott Brown (71) Made three out of four cuts since we last checked in, demonstrating that he’s not going to fall off the map. Worth keeping an eye on in some weaker events later in the summer.
57 Jeff Overton (46) He’s a guy you can plug in anywhere from 45 to 70 and he makes sense. Hard to peg from week-to-week at times, but results will fall into place.
58 Charley Hoffman (63) Disappointing finish down the stretch at the RBC Heritage, but his overall body of work is in line with his résumé.
59 K.J. Choi (47) Plugging along and picked up another top 20 at Harbour Town. Don’t expect too much from him and you’ll end up pleasantly surprised.
60 Lucas Glover (95) Found himself in contention in New Orleans, picking up his second T4 of the year. Like Bill Haas, we’ll have to see how being a new father impacts him on the course.
61 Ryan Palmer (59) Pleasantly surprised at TPC Sawgrass despite poor history. Putting together a solid season.
62 John Rollins (60) Like others in this range such as Overton, Hoffman and Palmer, we’re getting exactly what we expected from the veteran. Plenty of top 25s, but low on the times in contention.
63 Kevin Stadler (68) See John Rollins.
64 Ben Crane (54) Dabbling with a return to something better than an average player. He’s a sneaky play at the Byron Nelson after a T8 at TPC Sawgrass.
65 Peter Hanson (50) One of several international players that have largely been a disappointment as full-time PGA TOUR members. See also Martin Kaymer, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ross Fisher et al.
66 Stewart Cink (66) Leaving him be at 66th. Still plugging along and I don’t read too much into a MC at THE PLAYERS.
67 Louis Oosthuizen (51) One of the bigger disappointments of 2013. Perhaps his T18 at THE PLAYERS will lead to a breakout performance at the HP Byron Nelson this week. It’s been kind to first-timers like Jason Day and Keegan Bradley recently.
68 Geoff Ogilvy (56) I hope we aren’t going to wake up in a year or two and find that he’s Stuart Appleby.
69 Kevin Chappell (76) Known for playing hard courses well, he was in contention through 36 holes at TPC Sawgrass.
70 James Hahn (52) There probably isn’t a player on TOUR who wants to head back west more.
71 Pat Perez (75) Steady weeks at Harbour Town and Quail Hollow before a MC at TPC Sawgrass. Keeping in line with years of history in 2013.
72 Brian Stuard (70) Our fade in the last article was timely, as he has now missed his last five cuts.
73 Bob Estes (82) Six top 30s in 10 starts has Estes flying just below most radars, but playing solid golf.
74 Graham DeLaet (74) Third on TOUR in GIR and eighth in driving distance explains his steady play. Lacks sizzle this season with nothing better than a pair of T9s.
75 Harris English (84) Heating up with a T6 in New Orleans and a modest T33 at THE PLAYERS. At any given time he could hit his stride and turn into the next Billy Horschel.
76 Brendan Steele (80) Back-to-back missed cuts, but making cuts at a faster clip than he did in 2012. Needs to finish some off.
77 Bryce Molder (76) Ranking second in strokes gained-putting, it doesn’t take much to go right for him to run into a big finish.
78 Ernie Els (69) Nine starts in, he's still looking for his first top 10 of 2013.
79 Aaron Baddeley (62) It can’t be stressed enough how bad his ball-striking is this year.
80 Padraig Harrington (53) He experimented with the belly putter – possibly to prove a point – at Quail Hollow. What else do you need to know? Missing about as many cuts as he’s making.
81 Charlie Wi (72) Snapped a streak of four missed cuts with a T55 at THE PLAYERS.
82 John Senden (81) Not putting up some of the bigger finishes we are used to seeing from him because the ball-striking has just been average this year.
83 Carl Pettersson (79) Made 11 (of 13) cuts, but can’t finish off a tournament. Only one top 10 and three top 25s.
84 Greg Chalmers (83) Making more cuts than he’s missing, but lacking pop. About what we’ve come to expect.
85 Scott Stallings (89) Given his history, it’s not a red flag that he’s missing cuts in bunches. Generally gets hot a few tournaments per year on easier courses.
86 Brian Harman (86) A T10 at Wells Fargo is good enough to hold his position despite an otherwise unimpressive run since the Masters.
87 Nicolas Colsaerts (61) It would be nice to see a little more consistency from the Muscles from Brussels.
88 Charlie Beljan (78) A relative carbon copy of Scott Stallings. Missing tons of cuts, but figures out how to get it done when he has a good week.
89 Matt Jones (99) Consistent year means he’ll keep his card, but hasn’t cracked a top 10 yet.
90 Richard H. Lee (96) A T9 at the Heritage and a T21 in New Orleans have him close to wrapping up his card for a third year on TOUR. He’s been steadily trending upward since the beginning of his rookie year in 2012. Could be a good buy for 2013-2014.
91 Justin Leonard (91) Only missed two cuts, but lone top 30 was a T4 in Tampa.
92 Ken Duke (88) Picked up a couple of top 25s in South Carolina and Louisiana, but missed the mark in his last two.
93 Nicholas Thompson (87) On a bit of a dry spell with three missed cuts. Still a respectable 43rd in ball-striking.
94 Bud Cauley (65) The fade continues for Cauley in his second full season on TOUR. Could be a factor in some of the weaker-field events later in the summer if not sooner.
95 George McNeill (109) His T16 at the Wells Fargo was a season-best finish and he was in contention. Continuing to be very consistent in 2013.
96 Martin Kaymer (73) The 2013 season has been a grind for the past PGA champion, with no logical end in sight. He’s got to pull himself up by the bootstraps soon, or it will be a lost year.
97 James Driscoll (92) The Bostonian led the charge for support of the bombings victims in Bean Town with his Birdies for Boston campaign, and his T26 at TPC Sawgrass has him trending well.
98 Mark Wilson (104) Showed some life with a T9 at the Heritage, but the summers have not been kind over the years.
99 Jason Kokrak (85) Nothing better than a T50 since we last checked in, but his length makes him a serious factor on the right course.
100 Roberto Castro (112) Anybody who can put up a 63 on TPC Sawgrass is capable of big things. It was not a surprise to see him falter the rest of the way, but he’s another guy to watch in some opposite-field events on the horizon.
101 Erik Compton (119) Hasn’t cashed since March, but it won’t take much for him to lock up his 2013-2014 card at this point.
102 Brian Davis (100) He isn’t making much noise, but he’s been slow and steady.
103 Ted Potter, Jr. (NR) A couple of top 35s in his last four tournaments was a welcomed surprise.
104 Jerry Kelly (118) His fifth at the RBC Heritage was his best finish since the 2011 Wyndham Championship.
105 Ross Fisher (117) His T10 at the Wells Fargo Championship makes sense given his length and marks his first top 10 on the PGA TOUR in 2013.
106 Robert Karlsson (NR) Scored a T4 on his home course of Quail Hollow to kick-start 2013 in just his seventh start. Plenty of work left to do, but a very good sign.
107 Chris Stroud (NR) A T6 at the Heritage highlights a nice run since we last checked in. Now in much better shape to pick up a tee time at The Barclays.
108 David Hearn (120) Made the cut in each of his last four starts which was exactly the consistency we were looking for following the Masters.
109 John Huh (102) Has not followed up a strong week at the Masters. Sophomore slump still in effect.
110 Henrik Norlander (NR) The rookie found himself on television a few times on the weekend of late, with back-to-back top 20s in New Orleans and Charlotte.
111 Jeff Maggert (NR) Came out of nowhere and almost stole THE PLAYERS. Now we’ll find out if it was a mirage or a preview of things to come.
112 Ben Kohles (90) Couldn’t buy a cut in three tries since our last checkup.
113 Scott Langley (NR) Given his brief history of success on short U.S. Open courses and a T3 at the Sony Open and a T24 at Harbour Town, I’d love to see him at Merion.
114 Daniel Summerhays (103) Holding his own, and almost found a top 25 at TPC Sawgrass, but likely needs one big week to lock things up for 2013-2014.
115 Vijay Singh (101) Just after the deer antler spray episode seemed to be in the past, he went and sued the PGA TOUR. That’s probably going to be a bit of a distraction going forward.
116 Tommy Gainey (113) Made three cuts in a row beginning with the Heritage, but failed to make it four at TPC Sawgrass. Might be coming around.
117 Matt Every (105) Making cuts with some regularity again, so continue to be patient.
118 Sang-moon Bae (110) Continues to be a cut machine, but not doing anything on the weekend.
119 Justin Hicks (NR) His T18 at the Heritage goes a long way towards locking up a FEC Playoff berth, thus making him impossible to ignore.
120 William McGirt (98) Dealing with an injury in his left wrist that required two cortisone shots. This makes him a bit of a risk moving forward.
121 Brad Fritsch (NR) He’s a bubble guy as the season matures, but once again fights his way inside the number.
122 Robert Streb (123) He’s cracking the top 25 three-quarters of the time when he sees the weekend, but I wish he didn’t miss so many cuts.
123 Jonathan Byrd (115) If he doesn’t get something done between now and the U.S. Open, he will be in serious jeopardy of needing the help of a Major Medical.
124 Retief Goosen (108) His current form (and back injury) warrants worse, but stature earns him the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
125 Vaughn Taylor (NR) Making the most of limited opportunities given conditional status, but seems hungry when he tees it up.
Falling out: Seung-yul Noh (93), Rory Sabbatini (97), Kevin Na (107), Jonas Blixt (111), Gary Woodland (114), Y.E. Yang (116), Sean O’Hair (121), Steve Marino (122), Johnson Wagner (124) and J.J. Henry (125).
We will return following the U.S. Open to see how the TOUR’s first trip to Merion shakes things up.
Best of luck to all!