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 (Previous 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.