Top 150 Golfers for 2020 Part 3

Josh Culp
Rotoworld

Looking ahead to the new year, a lot of season-long golf leagues are prepping for their drafts. 

I'm going to dive into the stats for all the PGA TOUR members and then pluck out the top 150 names to target in drafts. I will list a few key stats and then forecast a rough estimate of earnings in 2020 based on 1-Year Performance, 3-Year Performance, and expected number of starts. 

These rankings will be broken up into three segments. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 then check them out. 

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1-Year Performance = Strokes Gained per Round during all worldwide events in 2019. Ranking is compared to the Top 200 golfers with any TOUR status. Adjusted for the strength of field each golfer played in. 

3-Year Performance = Strokes Gained per Round during all worldwide events since 2017. Recent rounds weighted more heavily. Ranking is compared to the Top 200 golfers with full-time, medical, or conditional status. 

Projected 2020 Earnings = An estimate of PGA TOUR earnings during the 2019-20 season, excluding any money collected during the fall schedule. 

 

 

#50 Andrew Putnam

2019 SG Rank: 41
3-Year SG Rank: 47
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,376,270

Notes: He's flirted with the TOUR Championship in back-to-back seasons (33rd and 34th). The only downside is that with his rise in the OWGR he's now more selective with his number of starts. Still managed 23 PGA TOUR starts last season which is plenty but five fewer than the year before. 

#49 Denny McCarthy

2019 SG Rank: 52
3-Year SG Rank: 64
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,379,027

Notes: His 2018 numbers suggested he was underperforming and the results started to catch up in 2019. Now we get a top-55 (per-round) talent that is coming off a 28-start season. He's still just 144th in the OWGR so WGCs aren't in the cards yet. That could be a plus or a negative depending on your league format. 

#48 Francesco Molinari

2019 SG Rank: 53
3-Year SG Rank: 32
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,389,903

Notes: In 2018 we saw him transform from a career top-25 machine into a stonecold winner. He added another win early in 2019 but has been quiet since (just three top 45s in his last 10 stroke-play starts of the season). Made a caddie change in October so you know he was feeling stale. 

#47 Kevin Kisner

2019 SG Rank: 58
3-Year SG Rank: 58
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,442,655

Notes: He was Mr. Top 30 in 2019. Kisner collected top 30s in 13 of his 22 stroke-play events while also winning the WGC-Match Play, finishing 5th at the Zurich, and T9 at the TOUR Championship. His around-the-green play has been up and down over the course of his career but it was in the dumps last year, losing strokes around-the-green in 61% of his rounds played. Kiz has made at least 25 starts in six straight seasons. 

#46 Dylan Frittelli

2019 SG Rank: 62
3-Year SG Rank: 51
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,451,302

Notes: At this time last year I was calling him a lighter version of Tommy Fleetwood due to their tremendous driving skill. That is still true but it's kind of funny that Frittelli actually crossed the finish line before Fleetwood on the PGA TOUR. Started the fall off with a pair of top 10s and a T11 in seven starts. His driver gives him a strong floor in terms of making cuts and he now has the confidence to go out and contend on the big stage. Could be an ever bigger season ahead in 2020. 

#45 Cameron Smith

2019 SG Rank: 64
3-Year SG Rank: 56
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,462,078

Notes: Regressed a bit in 2019 with just eight top 25s (12 the year before) and three top 10s (7 the year before). The problem is that he still loses strokes off-the-tee in more than half of his measured rounds. He's shorter than average out on TOUR and he's less accurate than average. Not a good combination. The rest of his game is lights out which makes up for up but until he gets the driver dialed in, he'll lack the consistency you expect from an elite golfer. 

#44 Henrik Stenson

2019 SG Rank: 31
3-Year SG Rank: 24
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,462,827

Notes: Didn't speak fondly about the state of his game this fall then he went on to win the Hero World Challenge. Certainly can't hurt his prospects for 2020 but as always you need to weigh efficiency versus opportunity. Stenson hasn't eclipsed 16 PGA TOUR starts in a single season since 2013 and he already had two this fall. 

#43 Lucas Glover

2019 SG Rank: 42
3-Year SG Rank: 44
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,481,427

Notes: Improved his putting in 2019 and the results flowed in, collecting $2.6 million which was his highest single-season total since 2009. You could ride the wave or on the flip side, you could say his putter is likely to return to mush in 2020. In that case you'd want to avoid or only draft if he falls too far. 

#42 Matthew Wolff

2019 SG Rank: 76
3-Year SG Rank: 68
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,520,805

Notes: Surged onto the scene with a win while playing on a sponsor's invite at the 3M Open. He's not even old enough to legally drink until April and these youngsters can usually be counted on 20 to 25 starts at a minimum. 

#41 Charles Howell III

2019 SG Rank: 34
3-Year SG Rank: 38
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,549,421

Notes: The man who is known as a walking ATM is saving his best for last. He had gained at least $1.2 million in each and every season since 2001 but managed to earn a career-best $3,039,049 during the 2019 campaign. If you're looking for a knock on him then you could point out that his SG Approach numbers actually dipped in 2019. Personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to draft CH3 but I'd be perfectly fine if he landed on my team when the price was right. 

#40 Adam Hadwin

2019 SG Rank: 51
3-Year SG Rank: 45
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,562,708

Notes: He improved his driving numbers last season but dipped around-the-green. The ARG, in theory, is an easier fix so if he maintains the new driving tools while also having an all-around game then a career year could be on the way. That would be quite the feat considering he gained $3.4 million in 2017. All that to say, despite his 1-Year SG Rank showing a slight dip, I think he could actually be on the upswing ahead of 2020. 

#39 Abraham Ancer

2019 SG Rank: 49
3-Year SG Rank: 55
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,567,378

Notes: Ancer gained strokes off-the-tee in 86% of his measured rounds last season. To put that in comparison, only Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland had a higher ratio. What's more impressive is that Ancer does it without bombing it 350 yards. That cat is out of the bag on Ancer after his Presidents Cup performance but most will assume he's just a lights-out putter because that's what he did at Royal Melbourne. However, that's actually the weakest area of his game. At 38th in the OWGR, the only downside is there is a slight possibility that he lets his foot off the gas in terms of total starts made this season. 

#38 Doc Redman

2019 SG Rank: 77
3-Year SG Rank: 99
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,574,919

Notes: Didn't have the same sample size of Ancer above, but his driving stats were nearly as impressive, on a per-round basis. Playing his first full season with a PGA TOUR card, I'm expecting A LOT of starts from Redman and would be surprised if he escapes 2020 without a win to his name. If I went purely by the raw numbers then Redman would go drafted around 60th but I got to add a little bit of opinion here and this would qualify as I think Redman has a breakout year in 2020. 

#37 Aaron Wise

2019 SG Rank: 70
3-Year SG Rank: 60
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,588,590

Notes: Bulked up after winning Rookie of the Year and did not get instant results. Went the wrong way with just five top 25s in 21 starts to finish 114th in the FedExCup race. Dailing into the metrics, it was really just a drop off in putting that caused the decline. I would look for him to get right back on track in 2020. 

#36 Louis Oosthuizen

2019 SG Rank: 19
3-Year SG Rank: 18
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,597,918

Notes: Back and neck injuries are tough to dodge but he's done a good job of managing it with no mid-tourney WDs on the PGA TOUR since 2015. You're never going to get more than 20 starts in a single season so his overall upside is capped in that regard. Still, all it takes is one or two good finishes in a major or a win in a non-major for him to get close to paying off. 

#35 Brandt Snedeker

2019 SG Rank: 40
3-Year SG Rank: 41
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,610,687

Notes: Approaching his 40s but still gets the job done with back-to-back top-40 finishes in the FedExCup standings. Sneds is a proven winner which has resulted in $3 million in season earnings for 6 of the last 9 seasons. 

#34 Jason Kokrak

2019 SG Rank: 27
3-Year SG Rank: 43
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,667,089

Notes: He went from steady striker to elite ball-striker in the matter of a year. Kok finished 11th in SG Off-the-Tee and 6th in SG Approach last year. He now has 25 top 25s over the last two seasons with nine doubling as top 10s. Still searching for first TOUR title. 

#33 Rafa Cabrera Bello

2019 SG Rank: 33
3-Year SG Rank: 30
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,696,346

Notes: RCB has tossed together 8 or more top 25s in three straight seasons on the PGA TOUR. He has just three top 20s in 26 major championship appearances but if he can improve on that area then his 2020 earnings will easily pay off his price tag. 

#32 Matt Wallace

2019 SG Rank: 36
3-Year SG Rank: 40
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,756,017

Notes: Playing his first full year as a PGA TOUR member so his number of starts is a wildcard. He only played one this fall but most first-time members from the Euro Tour hit the 18-start mark so he should be busy this season. Can get a little wild with the driver at times but he gained strokes off-the-tee in 77% of his measured rounds last season which is top 15 on TOUR. So I'd say his approach to driving is just fine right now. A lot of potential here but like so many other Euro Tour stars trying to balance their time across the world, the number is starts is the only limiting factor. 

#31 Scottie Scheffler

2019 SG Rank: 38
3-Year SG Rank: 39
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,797,109

Notes: He's quickly establishing himself as one of the premier ball-strikers on the PGA TOUR. He won twice on the Korn Ferry circuit last year and most rookies play a heavy schedule until/unless they win. Either way you are a winner because it either means high volume of steady play or a few big payoffs. 

#30 Marc Leishman

2019 SG Rank: 45
3-Year SG Rank: 31
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,829,403

Notes: Played a career-low 21 starts in 2019 and then pulled out of the 2020 opening with a back injury. That being said, he's racked up top 25s in 95 of his career 274 starts and that included 12 last season. If he's healthy then you want him on your squad but there are some lingering health concerns to worry about here. 

#29 Jason Day

2019 SG Rank: 25
3-Year SG Rank: 16
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,870,979

Notes: Another year with his baseline performance trending in the wrong direction. The Aussie has earned less than $3 million in two of the last three seasons. He still brings top-of-the-world upside to the table but it'd be foolish to expect that kind of performance in 2020. 

#28 Byeong Hun An

2019 SG Rank: 30
3-Year SG Rank: 33
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,930,874

Notes: Only Snedeker gained strokes around-the-green more consistently than An last season (Snedeker 73% of measured rounds vs An's 71%). An was also top 35 in SG Off-the-Tee and SG Approach to form the perfect Tee-to-Green machine. I'd say he's finally comfortable playing on the PGA TOUR and ready to take the next step and become a PGA TOUR winner in 2020. 

#27 Jordan Spieth

2019 SG Rank: 43
3-Year SG Rank: 28
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,932,675

Notes: It's one step forward and two steps back for Spieth who struggled with his putting consistency only to find the script flipped in 2019. Spieth had a monster year with the flat stick in 2019 but his ball-striking was as bad as it's ever been. We know that top-tier talent is still in there so invest early if you think he pairs everything up again. The beauty is that you no longer have to pay top dollar if you want to draft him. 

#26 Matt Kuchar

2019 SG Rank: 17
3-Year SG Rank: 22
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,986,658

Notes: It looked like his career was tailing off in the wrong direction in 2018 but rebounded last season with a career year (2 wins and a career-high $6.2 Million).  Should we expect him to maintain that pace? No. But he's certainly worthy of a top-30 draft pick still. 

#25 Joaquin Niemann

2019 SG Rank: 55
3-Year SG Rank: 49
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,037,527

Notes: Looking at his 2019 stats he was a top-40 driver of the golf ball and top 25 in iron play. That level of elite ball-striking at just 21-years of age. He earned just $1.4 million last season (first full year on TOUR) but I'd suspect that's the last time we see him earning less than $2 million for a season in a long time. 

#24 Billy Horschel

2019 SG Rank: 26
3-Year SG Rank: 37
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,038,373

Notes: Never slowed his pace even when soaring in the world ranks. Some golfers ease off the gas and try to work in more rest weeks. Not Horschel who has penciled in 26-to-28 starts each of the last three seasons. Combine that with a 1-Year Per-Round Rank of 26th and you have quite the combo. 

#23 Bryson DeChambeau

2019 SG Rank: 16
3-Year SG Rank: 17
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,062,409

Notes: It's been a roller-coaster of a career already for DeChambeau who went from can't-miss prospect to dud to a multiple-time winner in a matter of years. His newest thing is to bulk up to "prevent" future injuries but the results haven't looked so good just yet. He struggled at the Hero and was not the strongest link at the Presidents Cup. Let's give him a full year to work his way into his new muscle but in the meantime, I will personally let others go along for that ride in terms of owning him on any season-long leagues. You're going to have to pay top dollar but there is more immediate risk than upside to be had with the new physique in 2020. 

#22 Tony Finau

2019 SG Rank: 32
3-Year SG Rank: 20
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,075,131

Notes: Was very boom or bust over the summer with three top 5s and three missed cuts over his last nine stroke-play events of the 2019 season. His one-year numbers are drifting in the wrong direction but not enough to be overly concerned. Remains a steady option that should continue to feed you 25 starts per season. 

#21 Collin Morikawa

2019 SG Rank: 21
3-Year SG Rank: 23
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,119,022

Notes: The youngster didn't rack up a huge sample size in 2019 but he gained strokes tee-to-green in 81% of his measured rounds. For comparison, there three golfers with a better ratio last season (Rory, JT, and Casey). That number should drop a bit in 2020 for Morikawa as he plays in some stronger fields but he is the real deal and should be a top-25 talent on TOUR for years to come. 

#20 Adam Scott

2019 SG Rank: 10
3-Year SG Rank: 15
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,255,816

Notes: During the 2018 campaign Scott lost strokes putting in 58% of his measured rounds but nearly flipped the ratio entirely last season (57% positive rounds in the SG Putting department). He was one of the few golfers on TOUR that was adamant about keeping the flagstick in. He cited the ability to aim at something being really helpful to him and it definitely showed up in his long-distance putting stats. He could easily revert to the mean in that department in 2020 but remains an elite ball-striker so it's worth the risk in my opinion. I would be surprised if he went another season without plucking off a win. 

#19 Justin Rose

2019 SG Rank: 14
3-Year SG Rank: 7
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,278,713

Notes: A complete overhaul to his clubs after becoming World No. 1 didn't work out so well. Who would have imagined that? His driver was most impacted as he gained strokes off-the-tee in just 59% of his measured rounds in 2019 (one of the best on TOUR in 2018 at 81%). The Englishman remains incredibly well-balanced but the magical $8 million season appears to be well in the rear-view. 

#18 Matthew Fitzpatrick

2019 SG Rank: 20
3-Year SG Rank: 26
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,306,209

Notes: Playing his first season as a PGA TOUR card-carrying member so we should expect a career-high in number of starts. His 1-Year performance rank is trending upward when compared to his 3-Year window. In limited PGA TOUR rounds last season his putter was putrid but tee-to-green game was elite. Putting is usually one of his strengths so I'd expect a nice breakout year for Fitz as long as his tee-to-green game sticks around. 

#17 Patrick Reed

2019 SG Rank: 23
3-Year SG Rank: 21
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,321,757

Notes: His all-around game serves him well in terms of course fit. Reed has gained at least $3 Million in six straight seasons now. Even as a world traveler, he maintains a high volume of PGA TOUR starts (at least 25 starts in seven straight years). 

#16 Gary Woodland

2019 SG Rank: 22
3-Year SG Rank: 25
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,365,510

Notes: He entered 2018 with some people wondering if his days of winning were over. He's responded with back-to-back seasons with a win including the monster U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach this year.  Those wins have resulted in a lot of cash (roughly $3.1 million in 2018 and $5.7 million last year). Take away the wins and his expectation falls back in line with most of his career which is the upper $2 million range. Not a bad pick but his expectations are getting high enough to the point where you almost need him to win to exceed value this year and that's no guarantee. 

#15 Tiger Woods

2019 SG Rank: 9
3-Year SG Rank: 6
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,369,110

Notes: He's been lights out since returning from the minor operation at the end of the season. He won the ZOZO and was one of the brightest stars on Team USA at the Presidents Cup. Only played 12 starts last season so that is the obvious downside here. Woods made one start in the fall so if he expect him to aim for 15 starts then we should see just 14 more starts. On a positive note, all of those starts will come in majors, WGCs, or larger-purse events. 

#14 Webb Simpson

2019 SG Rank: 5
3-Year SG Rank: 8
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,458,061

Notes: What has gotten into Webb lately? In 2018 he turns a weakness into a strength and became one of the best putters on TOUR. He continued the strong putting this season but also leaped into the running for best iron players on TOUR. Simpson gained strokes on approach in 73% of his measured rounds last season which was third behind only Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama (of golfers with at least 40 rounds). I'm a little skeptical that he can maintain this torrid pace. On raw numbers, you'd want to draft him inside the top 5 but I just can't get there. 

#13 Tommy Fleetwood

2019 SG Rank: 11
3-Year SG Rank: 9
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,471,517

Notes: The 28-year-old has picked off six top 10s in back-to-back seasons. He continues to put his name in contention but still searching for his first win on the PGA TOUR. It's hard for a golfer this skilled to continue without a win for very much longer. With less than 20 starts per season, most of his appearances come in the strongest of events which also makes it a bit tougher to win. That being said, I wouldn't expect the drought to last much longer with his elite level of driving and around-the-green skills. 

#12 Paul Casey

2019 SG Rank: 13
3-Year SG Rank: 13
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,480,454

Notes: If there were any doubts about his age catching up to him then he put that to rest in 2019 by finishing top 10 in strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained approach. Has cracked the $3 million mark on the PGA TOUR for five straight seasons now. 

#11 Sungjae Im

2019 SG Rank: 28
3-Year SG Rank: 34
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,642,027

Notes: Made THIRTY FIVE starts during his rookie campaign. It would have been easy to get burned out by Im managed to finish top 40 in three of the four sub-categories of strokes gained (off-the-tee, around-the-green, and putting). The 21-year-old stormed through the Korn Ferry Tour as a teenager so there was nothing fake about last year's breakout rookie season. So many people that have been around or played with Im have said the sky is the limit for him. We saw that talent on full display at the Presidents Cup and he should remain a star on those International teams for years to come. 

#10 Viktor Hovland

2019 SG Rank: 18
3-Year SG Rank: 19
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,732,415

Notes: When Golf.com did an anonymous survey earlier this year they asked who will have the best career, Wolff, Morikawa, or Hovland. Despite the first two already racking up wins, it was Hovland that received 54% of the votes (Morikawa 42%, Wolff 4%). It's easy to see why when you look at his small sample size of measured ShotLink rounds. Hovland gained off-the-tee in 90% of measured rounds (would be 2nd behind only McIlroy) and gained on approach in 79% of rounds (would be best on TOUR, six percent higher than #2 J. Thomas). His short game needs a lot of work but this might be the best ball-striker we've seen come on TOUR in years. 

#9 Rickie Fowler

2019 SG Rank: 15
3-Year SG Rank: 12
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,744,225

Notes: Another year went by with Fowler falling short in the majors. He's reaching the age when golfers typically peak (31 to 34 years old) so there is no reason to panic just yet. He's cracked the $4 million mark in four of the last six seasons. 

#8 Patrick Cantlay

2019 SG Rank: 3
3-Year SG Rank: 5
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,744,718

Notes: It's pretty wild to take a step back and think of what Cantlay has accomplished over the last three years. Many assumed his pro career was over before it ever really took off. Now he's performing at the level of a top-3 golfer in the world, on a per-round basis. I'd say fire away at any draft spot after the 3rd pick. 

#7 Xander Schauffele

2019 SG Rank: 6
3-Year SG Rank: 14
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,847,934

Notes: The 26-year-old slowed his pace in 2019 (21 starts after 28 and 27 the two years prior). The good news is that we've seen his 1-Year Strokes Gained Rank trend upward as a result. Easily a top-10 pick it's just a matter of where in the top 10 you want to put him. 

#6 Brooks Koepka

2019 SG Rank: 12
3-Year SG Rank: 11
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,881,651

Notes: He still underperforms outside of majors but it's hard to argue with his track record in the strongest of events. That keeps him at #6 but there is also the risk that his knee injury becomes a serious issue. That's not the most likely of outcomes but it is in the range of possibilities considering he skipped the Presidents Cup to rest that knee. 

#5 Dustin Johnson

2019 SG Rank: 7
3-Year SG Rank: 4
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,911,889

Notes: Had some knee surgery after the 2019 season. Just like Koepka above, we can't rule out that knee becoming a hassle at some point during the 2020 campaign. His 1-Year performance is trending downward as you can see from the ranks above, but was that due to him playing through knee pain? A few too many question marks for a top pick. On the glass-half-full side, he has #1 fantasy producing upside if he's healthy and back to his old self in 2020. 

#4 Hideki Matsuyama

2019 SG Rank: 8
3-Year SG Rank: 10
Projected 2020 Earnings: $3,951,715

Notes: Was slow to return to peak form after that 2018 wrist injury but started flashing it again in 2019 with seven top 10s. Ended the 2019 season having gained on approach in 73% of his measured rounds which was second behind only J. Thomas. Hideki-bot is officially back and ready to hit the winner's circle at least once in 2020. 

#3 Jon Rahm

2019 SG Rank: 2
3-Year SG Rank: 2
Projected 2020 Earnings: $5,065,859

Notes: The knock on Rahm has been that he hasn't contended in enough majors but with finishes of T11 or better in five of the last eight, I would say that narrative is slowly dying. Ended the calendar year with worldwide finishes of T11 or better in 11 of his last 12 stroke-play starts including a trio of Euro Tour wins. Rahm is creeping up on McIlroy for best golfer in the world honors. He's earned $4.9 million or more in two of his three seasons on TOUR and it'd be surprising if he doesn't eclipse $5 million in 2020. 

#2 Rory McIlroy

2019 SG Rank: 1
3-Year SG Rank: 1
Projected 2020 Earnings: $5,308,917

Notes: We knew there was a ton of upside for McIlroy in 2019 when he said he was putting his full attention on the PGA TOUR and didn't even renew his Euro Tour membership until it was basically forced on him. As a result, he played a career-high 19 TOUR events and racked up $7.7 Million in earnings. Not too shabby. There is nothing on him playing the Middle East Swing on the Euro Tour this winter so that means another showing on the West Coast is likely. He only falls behind Thomas out of pure amount of volume upside. McIlory won't ever eclipse last year's 19 starts in a single season while that's the floor for JT. 

#1 Justin Thomas

2019 SG Rank: 4
3-Year SG Rank: 3
Projected 2020 Earnings: $5,966,217

Notes: Like I just talked about with McIlroy, JT has a floor of 20 starts which is what we saw last year when he had to miss some time due to a wrist injury. Before that he posted 23 or more starts in all four seasons on TOUR. Thomas sits at 4th in the 2019 Strokes Gained Rank but part of that is deflated due to his putting woes after returning from injury. Realistically, it's a Big Three with Rory-Rahm-JT at the top. It's Thomas that will give you the highest amount of starts on the PGA TOUR so that should be strongly considered as a reason to pick him #1 overall. 

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