John McNamara

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2012 Nationwide Tour Rankings

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I will be posting new articles to the site that will prepare us for the ’12 draft. I will start our off-season coverage with my predictions for the 2011 Nationwide Tour graduates. Later, I will post information on the 2011 Q School graduates. The culmination of my off-season articles will be a top-150 ranking of the PGA Tour in ’12. If you have questions about any of the articles or need some information prior to my articles being posted, shoot me an email at JMacFantasyGolf@aim.com.

 

Let us get back to the Nationwide Tour graduates and start our preparation for a dominant ’12 season. The Nationwide Tour and Q School graduates have full status on the PGA Tour in ’12, but that does not guarantee a spot in every tournament. The new members only rank ahead of the “Minor-Medical” players and the players with “Conditional Status” (126-150 on the PGA Tour money list in ’11).

 

J.J. Killeen led the Nationwide Tour’s money list and he gets an advantage that I will allude to in a bit. The new members are ranked where they finished on the Nationwide Tour money list (2-25) or at Q School (1-25). These players are put into what is called the “Reshuffle” and Killeen avoids this scenario for the entire ’12 season by leading the Nationwide Tour in money. The Q School medalist earns the honor of being number-one in the “Reshuffle” and the second ranked player on the Nationwide Tour follows him at number two. The Q School (odds) and Nationwide Tour (evens) alternate spots until all 50 spots are filled.

 

The “Reshuffle” is confusing, but in layman’s’ terms, the players who start the year at the top of the “Reshuffle” have a higher priority ranking than the players who finished lower on the Nationwide Tour money list or in the Q School finals.

 

The PGA Tour will reshuffle this group (hence the name) after the “West Coast Swing” and several more times throughout the year. It is imperative for players to get off to a hot start on the West Coast and have a higher priority ranking as they head to Florida in the spring. The best kryptonite for the “Reshuffle” is to play good golf, but the players who have West Coast roots have an advantage because of the poa annua greens. I would not be caught up in the “Reshuffle”, but if you are torn between two players and one played college golf in California, take the California-bred.

 

I have ranked these players below on experience on the PGA Tour, stats from the Nationwide Tour in ‘11, recent form and my coverage throughout the ’11 season. I expect 10 of these players to earn their card and I feel the first eight on my list are a lock to retain their PGA Tour card in ’13. I know that is a bit aggressive, but my top-eight are in a different class compared to the other 17 players.

 

The stats I used mainly to determine my stat profiles were GIR, birdie or better percentage, top-10 finishes, ball-striking, scrambling and bogey avoidance. I use the birdie or better percentage, scrambling and bogey avoidance as an indicator for putting.

 

Enjoy the process of the off-season and I will be the resource you need to dominate your league.

 

2011 Nationwide Tour Graduate Rankings

 

1.

Ted Potter, Jr.

Nationality: United States

College: None

Age: 28

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 148th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: This left-handed sensation turned pro in ’02 and qualified for the Nationwide Tour in ’04. He failed to cash in all 24 events and made just three cuts in ’07 on the Nationwide Tour as well. During his absences from the Nationwide Tour, he played the Hooters Tour and won seven times. Potter won the South Georgia Classic this past May after Monday-qualifying into the event. This win afforded Potter full status on the Nationwide Tour again and he took full advantage of his opportunity. He later won the Soboba Golf Classic and finished second on the Nationwide Tour money list. He starts second in the reshuffle and he led my stat calculations. Potter can go low, stripe his irons, scramble nicely, and avoid costly bogeys. Potter is poised to be great and will be a hot commodity on draft day.

 

2.

Danny Lee

Nationality: South Korea (New Zealander at age 8)

College: None

Age: 21

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: N/A

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Danny Lee was the youngest player to win the U.S. Amateur as an 18 year-old in ’08 and went on to win the Johnny Walker Classic (European Tour event) as an amateur in ’09. The remainder of ’09 and the ’10 season were disappointing for Lee, but he gained full status on the Nationwide Tour in ’11, last fall at Q School. He won the WNB Golf Classic to go along with nine top-10s and he finished sixth on the Nationwide Tour money list. Lee, third in my stat calculations, hits his irons really well, putts it great, and has an outstanding short game. Like Potter, Lee will be drafted early and has a promising future ahead.

 

3.

Jason Kokrak

Nationality: United States

College: Xavier

Age: 26

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: N/A

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: The Xavier graduate is only 26 and Kokrak has a great skill set. He can MOVE it off tee (led Nationwide Tour in Driving Distance), has great touch around the greens, and go low (69.03 scoring average). Kokrak won two different times on the Nationwide Tour in ’11 and won four times on the eGolf Tour between ’08-’10. He will not garner the same attention as Lee or Potter, but he certainly has the same upside, especially with his length.

 

4.

John Mallinger

Nationality: United States

College: Long Beach State

Age: 32

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-133rd; ’09-50th; ’08-91st; ’07-51st

Outlook: Mallinger has significant experience and success on the PGA Tour and he played a combination of the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour in ’11. He was in contention at the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour, but a poor back-nine cost him any real chance to earn his way back onto the PGA Tour for ’12. While on the Nationwide Tour, he had six top-10 finishes in nine starts and made $237,779, without a win. Look for Mallinger to be highly sought after on draft day, and his California ties will help him during the West Coast Swing.

 

5.

Gary Christian

Nationality: England

College: Auburn

Age: 40

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 73rd

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Christian is making his maiden voyage to the PGA Tour after turning pro in 1997. He played the Nationwide Tour in 1999 and he has been on this circuit since ’06. Christian has 32 professional wins, including two on the Nationwide Tour. He possesses a great short game, good irons, but he could convert a bit better on his birdie opportunities. His scoring average was 69.26 and he is a proto-typical grinder. He will likely go unnoticed on draft day, but he starts in a solid spot in the reshuffle.

 

6.

Mathew Goggin

Nationality: Australia

College: None

Age: 37

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-159th; ’09-84th; ’08-40th; ’07-103rd; ’06-85th; ’03-157th; ’02-142nd

Outlook: Goggin is headed back to the PGA Tour after a one-year hiatus. The 37 year-old won two tournaments on the Nationwide Tour in ’11 and got his game back after a dismal ’10 season. His putting seems to continue to haunt him at times, but his ball-striking showed great improvement and he had six top-10s this past year in 18 starts. He led the Nationwide Tour in bogey avoidance and was fifth in GIR. Goggin finished third on the money list and starts sixth in the reshuffle.

 

7.

Russell Knox

Nationality: Scotland

College: Jacksonville University

Age: 26

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: N/A

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: This young Scottish golfer has a strong game and Knox has four professional wins (one on Nationwide Tour, 2 on the Hooters Tour and 1 on the eGolf Tour). He will need to capitalize on the West Coast because he starts 24th in the reshuffle, but I am counting on the Scot to play well early.

 

8.

Matt Every

Nationality: United States

College: Florida

Age: 28

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-160th

Outlook: The former Florida Gator will make his second run on the PGA Tour and he faces an uphill battle from the 36th spot in the reshuffle. I see a lot of upside associated with Every’s game; he is VERY solid from tee-to-green, but he will need to improve his scrambling around the greens (48th). Obviously, this is a huge concern, along with starting 36th, but his ball-striking, attitude and familiarity with the big circuit will be beneficial. Do not reach too soon on Every, but he is a sleeper.

 

9.

J.J. Killeen

Nationality: United States

College: TCU

Age: 30

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 55th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Killeen will be exempt from all the reshuffles in his rookie campaign, but he ranked 81st in GIR and 74th in ball-striking. He did win two events in ’11 and had seven top-10s, but I could not place Killeen any higher after looking at his ball-striking splits. The top-spot on the Nationwide Tour does not guarantee any success at the next level and the last player to thrive on the PGA Tour who won the money list in previous season was Ken Duke in ’07.

 

10.

Jonas Blixt

Nationality: Sweden

College: Florida State

Age: 27

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 27

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: I like this kid’s game and Blixt starts 10th in the reshuffle. He had eight top-10s in ’11 and has played the Nationwide Tour for the last three years. He made his last 12 cuts to end the ’11 season and he made $327,020 in ’11 without a victory. He was a two-time All-American at Florida State and competed on two Palmer Cup teams. He does mirror Killeen with his ball-striking, but like Killeen, he can make birdies in bunches. His short game is solid, but not as good as Killeen’s, but you will be able to get Blixt much later in the draft than where Killeen will go.

 

11.

Garth Mulroy

Nationality: South Africa

College: NC State

Age: 33

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-181st

Outlook: Mulroy lives in Raleigh, NC and he will play the PGA Tour in ’11 after winning his first European Tour title in South Africa this fall. He starts the year 42nd in the reshuffle and that is a tough position, but his confidence is soaring. His stats are solid. He would not be this high, but his recent win on the European Tour is tough to overlook.

 

12.

Roberto Castro

Nationality: United States

College: Georgia Tech

Age: 26

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: N/A

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket starts 46th in the reshuffle, but Castro has a strong long-game. He struggles a bit around the greens, but he was a two-time All-American and won five eGolf Tour events from ’07 to ’10. He did not win on the Nationwide Tour in ’11, but his biggest payday represented only 14% of his total earnings ($186,563).

 

13.

Billy Hurley III

Nationality: United States

College: Naval Academy

Age: 33

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: N/A

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: The United States Naval Academy graduate had a storied amateur career and finished 25th on the Nationwide Tour money list without a victory. Outside of a mediocre scrambling stat (60th), Hurley is strong in my attributes. Hurley has great distance control with his irons and can drive it on a blanket off the tee. He does not have great length, but his game is well-rounded and I would have him higher up my board, except he starts 50th in the reshuffle.

 

14.

Martin Flores

Nationality: United States

College: Oklahoma

Age: 29

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-175th

Outlook: Like Hurley, Flores did not win an event this past year and his highest payday represented only 10% of his total earnings. His game is solid from top-to-bottom, but like Hurley, he starts 48th in the reshuffle. This will be Flores’ second chance on the PGA Tour, but his position in the reshuffle is tough to ignore.

 

15.

Troy Kelly

Nationality: United States

College: Washington

Age: 33

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 122nd

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’09-238th

Outlook: Like Flores, Kelly will be making his second appearance on the PGA Tour and his stats are solid across the board. A late season slump keeps Kelly from ranking in any higher and he will start 22nd in the reshuffle. Kelly graduated from the University of Washington and he could get hot on the West Coast to start the season.

 

16.

Miguel Angel Carballo

Nationality: Argentina

College: None

Age: 32

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 86th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: The Argentinean has bounced around on many different tours since he turned pro in ’02 and he has three wins as a professional (two on Nationwide Tour). His stats are not overly impressive and ranks just 67th in GIR and 73rd in ball-striking. He had four top-10s this past year, but mediocre irons keeps him from being ranked any higher.

 

17.

Mark Anderson

Nationality: United States

College: South Carolina

Age: 25

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 60th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Anderson is a young golfer with some talent and a big upside. He has played the last two years on the Nationwide Tour after turning pro in ’09. He will face a tough task starting the year 44th in the reshuffle, but the South Carolina graduate scrambles well and he had four top-10s in ’11.

 

18.

Ken Duke

Nationality: United States

College: Henderson State

Age: 43

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 118th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’09-158th; ’08-28th; ’07-37th; ’04-166th

Outlook: Duke won the Nationwide Tour money title in ’06 and had success on the PGA Tour in ’07 and ’08. He burned many fantasy teams in ’09 and fell to 159th on the money list. Duke will start 14th in the reshuffle, but his season was fair until he won a huge payday at the Nationwide Tour Championship. His winning check of $180,000 represented 57% of his total earnings.

 

19.

Steve Wheatcroft

Nationality: United States

College: Indiana

Age: 33

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-166th; ’07-206th

Outlook: This will be Wheatcroft’s third year on the PGA Tour and he can roll the rock. He ranked 99th in GIR and 69th in ball-striking. These numbers will need improvement if he wants a fourth year on the PGA Tour in ’13.

 

20.

Kyle Reifers

Nationality: United States

College: Wake Forest

Age: 28

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 67th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’07-187th

Outlook: Reifers is looking to bounce back from a disappointing season on the PGA Tour in ’07. He finished second at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational and the $144,000 was 62% of his total earnings. Reifers does have solid attributes, but three top-10s in 23 starts is worrisome.

 

21.

Erik Compton

Nationality: United States

College: Georgia

Age: 32

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: N/A

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Few stories are better than Compton’s and I really hope my analysis is wrong, because I am truly pulling for him. He is the consummate grinder and he gets a lot out of his game. He ranked 91st in GIR and 110th in ball-striking. He scrambles and putts the ball well and he will start 26th in the reshuffle.

 

22.

Scott Brown

Nationality: United States

College: USC at Aiken

Age: 28

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 70th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Brown played the most events (26) out of the Nationwide Tour graduates and he had five top-10s. His scoring average for the year was 70.38 and it will be interesting to see how Brown handles the big stage.

 

23.

Kyle Thompson

Nationality: United States

College: South Carolina

Age: 32

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 49th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’08-211th

Outlook: This is Thompson’s second stint on the PGA Tour. He won one tourney on the Nationwide Tourney in ’11 and the $108,000 represented 42% of his total earnings. He ranked 78th in scrambling and 82nd in bogey avoidance. He would have been higher, but his best finish in his last 11 events is a T21 to along with six missed cuts.

 

24.

Daniel Chopra

Nationality: Sweden

College: None

Age: 38

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: Played on the PGA Tour

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’10-176th; ’09-103rd; ’08-52nd; ’07-48th; ’06-54th; ’05-90th; ’04-108th

Outlook: Chopra is a two-time PGA Tour winner, but he finished 176th on the PGA Tour money list in ’10. He did rebound to start the year on the Nationwide Tour in ’11 with a win at the Fresh Express Classic. He played well down the stretch, but I could not overlook his ball-striking (99th).

 

25.

Gavin Coles

Nationality: Australia

College: None

Age: 43

Nationwide Tour Money Ranking in ‘10: 38th

Previous PGA Tour Experience: ’08-159th;’07-147th; ’05-169th; ’03-227th

Outlook: This is Cole’s fifth attempt on the PGA Tour and his best finish was 159th in ’08. He ranks 119th in GIR and 107th in ball-striking. He starts the year 34th in the reshuffle.



John McNamara wrote full-time for Rotoworld in 2010 and 2011, but he still maintains the pulse of the landscape. He was FSWA’s Golf Writer of the Year in 2008 and 2010.
Email :John McNamara



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