Big names that were big disappointments in fantasy golf in 2012.
• Stewart Cink: If you thought his 2012 was going to be his bounce-back year after a very quiet 2011, you and everyone else thought wrong. After winning The Open Championship in 2009, Cink has amassed exactly four top-10 finishes since. After winning $1.5 million in 2010, Cink dropped to $900,000 in 2011 and $477,000 in 2012. Not to say his ship has sailed but the only way I include Cink in anything in 2013 is in week-to-week games, if that.
• Gary Woodland: After a monster rookie season in 2011, Woodland regressed in 2012 by $2.8 million. A (left) wrist problem combined with his work with Butch Harmon did not reward fantasy players who had him on season-long teams. He made 16 of 22 cuts this season but had only three top 25s and ONE top 10. That’s pyrite coming off a season like he had in 2011. The good news is that he is healthy again and Harmon thinks he’s getting close. He could be a nice value pick for 2013 in season-long leagues because he’s fully exempt off his win at the 2011 Transitions Championship.
• Y.E. Yang: Neck, back and shoulder injuries hampered the South Korean in 2012. Injuries are the one part of fantasy golf that you cannot predict and can completely ruin players for seasons at a time. Yang, who made 14 of 18 cuts in 2011 and included a second and a third, racked up over $2.3 million. This year, in 20 events, he only made 13 cuts with exactly ONE top 25 finish and zero top 10s. His excellent putting will always keep him in the conversation if the injury bug leaves him alone.
• Camilo Villegas: After a disappointing 2011 through the PGA Championship, Villegas looked to have turned the corner to a big 2012 as he finished T9, T6, T25, T6 and T4 to close out the year. That momentum never left January 2012. He started out T19, T22 in his first two events and only had two top 25s the rest of the year in 23 events. This was the first time since 2006 that he did not qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. This was also the first time he did not finish in the top 125 on the TOUR's money list.
• Robert Allenby: I wrote back in January that I was going to be skeptical this season because he was just coming off a divorce and you never know how that affects people. Allenby made only 12 cuts in 27 starts and is now ranked No. 175 in the world (as of Nov. 18). The good news is that he’s never had a season anywhere close to this in the last 12 years; the bad news he’s 41 and 178th in total putting. Buyers beware in 2013.
• Nick Watney: The reason he makes this list is because he WAS a disappointment in season-long games that ran through the PGA Championship and did NOT count the FedExCup Playoffs. For those games that DID include the playoffs, his win was excellent but he backed that up with T20, T45 and 28th so that’s not what was expected from the FedExCup leader going into the 2011 playoffs. Watney’s rebound in the Fall Series and play in China (WIN, T16) has me optimistic for 2013.
• Aaron Baddeley: Another young player who had a monster 2011 who struggled in 2012 (see: Gary Woodland). In the same amount of events, Baddeley did not win nor hit the podium is his earnings wilted from almost $3.1 million to $1.2 million in the same amount of events. After abandoning the Stack and Tilt method and returning to his old swing coach from his junior days, gamers believed that
Badds would become “goods,” but that wasn’t the case as he only hit the top 10 in three of 22 events.
• K.J. Choi: After a monster 2011 it wasn’t surprising that Choi might have backed up a bit, but dropping from over $4.4 million to under a million in earnings was shocking. He was coming off a season where he had a win, a second, two thirds and four other top-10 finishes in 22 events. This year, the normally solid putter and ball-striker fell apart across the board statistically. Even though he cashed checks in 16 of 21 events, he found the top 10 only twice. Sometimes you think you have this entire thing figured out and sometimes K.J. Choi happens. That’s why we keep playing!
• Jhonattan Vegas: Another winner from the rookie crop of 2011 that didn’t fire in his sophomore season, Vegas played 25 events in 2011 and had only five top-25 finishes. But in those five top 25s were his first career win and a third. In 2012, he hit the top 25 only three times and his best finishes were fourth and seventh. Eight top 25s in 50 starts on TOUR is not what I’m looking for in season-long players or weekly gamers.
• Anthony Kim: Two cuts made in 10 events entered. All of that promise keeps running into injury problems. Anyone who gambled (raises hand) on him in season-long leagues without subs (raises hand again) couldn’t be pleased (am not). His Achilles injury will keep him out until mid-2013 and off my radar, thankfully.
• Ángel Cabrera: I feel like I’m piling on here but this is mainly for the newcomers to fantasy golf. If you are drafting Cabrera because he’s a two-time major champion, well, that’s your right as an American. It’s not very smart, but you are more than welcome to do so. He has had seven top 10s in his last 56 starts on TOUR. There’s a reason why you can get him cheap in most leagues/drafts.