Wyndham Clark
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Culp's Corner

Top 150 Golfers for 2020 Part 2

Updated On: December 18, 2019, 10:18 pm ET

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, check it out. Part 3 will be out on Friday. 

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. 

 

 

#100 Austin Cook

2019 SG Rank: 165
3-Year SG Rank: 115
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,689,565

Notes: His magic ran dry with Henley on the bag so they cut ties. Could be the switch he needs to get back into form. Before last season, the 28-year-old was 31-for-39 on the PGA TOUR with 14 of those doubling as top 25s. His 1-Year numbers are trending the wrong way but let's not throw him to the wolves just yet. 

#99 Kevin Na

2019 SG Rank: 60
3-Year SG Rank: 50
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,691,796

Notes: Battled through injuries all year but managed a very efficient season that included a win and two other top 10s in 19 starts. He's still relatively young but the neck pain isn't going away anytime soon. Makes him a risky option for season-long leagues but one that will crush his draft position if he stays healthy. 

#98 Adam Schenk

2019 SG Rank: 109
3-Year SG Rank: 118
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,705,254

Notes: Struggled his first time around the PGA TOUR circuit but figured it out last season with a 20-for-31 record that including nine top 25s. He gained strokes off-the-tee, on approach, and putting last season. If his increased performance was partially due to comfort on the courses he's playing then a third time around should only continue to help him. 

#97 Pat Perez

2019 SG Rank: 91
3-Year SG Rank: 69
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,713,002

Notes: Had a scary calf injury but still managed to crack the Playoffs last season. He looked like himself again this fall with a pair of top 10s in five starts. 

#96 Nick Watney

2019 SG Rank: 108
3-Year SG Rank: 92
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,714,332

Notes: Has now made the FedExCup Playoffs 12 times in his career. Was settling for cuts made after his return from injury in 2017 but regained some flash last year with three top 10s. 

#95 Tom Lewis

2019 SG Rank: 57
3-Year SG Rank: 61
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,725,023

Notes: Stormed the KFT Championship to earn his card for 2020. Didn't have any luck on the PGA TOUR this fall but grabbed top 15s in four of his last five starts on the Euro Tour. World No. 54 should split his time between tours but as a first-time PGA TOUR member, I'd expect most of his attention to fall in the States, leading to a likely 15-to-17 starts. 

#94 Beau Hossler

2019 SG Rank: 141
3-Year SG Rank: 114
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,727,659

Notes: One of the best putters on TOUR but wild off the tee. If he can manage to reign in those errant tee shots just a touch then he could make a huge impact in 2020. 

#93 Troy Merritt

2019 SG Rank: 107
3-Year SG Rank: 117
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,730,886

Notes: An emergency surgery in 2018 to remove a blood clot didn't slow him down. In fact, he responded with one of the best season of his career in 2019. Merritt went 14-for-21 with nine top 25s. His career cuts-made percentage hovers around 50% but he's now made the Playoffs in five of the last six seasons, becoming a bit of a steady option. 

#92 C.T. Pan

2019 SG Rank: 123
3-Year SG Rank: 108
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,742,086

Notes: He's not flashy but he's finished top 90 in the FedExCup standings in each of his first three seasons on TOUR. His 1-Year and 3-Year stats suggest he has overpeformed a bit but he's still young, has elite amateur pedigree, and still has room to grow. 

#91 Kevin Tway

2019 SG Rank: 120
3-Year SG Rank: 106
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,755,274

Notes: One of the longest hitters on TOUR but he gained strokes off-the-tee in just 43% of his rounds over the last 12 months. That tells us a lot about how wild he's been lately. Had to adapt and shine on approach and around-the-green. It's a big if, but if he managed to clean up the loose tee shots then he'd become a top-50 pick. 

#90 Keith Mitchell

2019 SG Rank: 97
3-Year SG Rank: 94
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,761,171

Notes: He become a PGA TOUR winner in 2019 but it likely seems like a disappointing year for weekly gamers that have followed over the summer. Mitchell ended the season with just one top 35 in his last 14 starts. It's really just a short-game issue so there is no reason to pull the plug yet. 

#89 Alex Noren

2019 SG Rank: 95
3-Year SG Rank: 48
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,765,538

Notes: May have flirted too closely with the line between playing both tours and missed the Playoffs as a result. Now playing with conditional status, perhaps that will kick him into gear. It seemed to be the case this fall as he recorded top 15s in both PGA TOUR starts. At World No. 73 he's longer a guarantee for WGC events but on the flip side, that should result in him playing more weaker-field events that give him a high probability of winning. 

#88 Adam Long

2019 SG Rank: 104
3-Year SG Rank: 126
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,780,962

Notes: Similar to Keith Mitchell above, it's just short game that is holding him back from being an elite player. Long has gained off-the-tee in 60% of his rounds over the last 12 months and 62% in the approach category. Already played 7 events in the fall so you know he wants to stay busy. 

#87 Scott Piercy

2019 SG Rank: 90
3-Year SG Rank: 83
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,782,505

Notes: He's a family man now but that hasn't slowed him down one bit over the years. Has cracked the Playoffs in 10-of-11 seasons. Ranked top 80 in all four sub-categories of strokes gained last season. 

#86 Joel Dahmen

2019 SG Rank: 106
3-Year SG Rank: 105
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,784,834

Notes: Has played 28 and 29 events in the last two seasons. Already cracked 7 off in the fall. You're getting a lot of volumen when you draft Dahmen but also steady play as his 1-Year and 3-Year numbers (per round) both sit around 105th. 

#85 Xinjun Zhang

2019 SG Rank: 67
3-Year SG Rank: 110
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,792,160

Notes: He become one of the first men from China to hold a PGA TOUR card back in 2018 and struggled to live up to the hype. Is having a much better start to the 2020 campaign with three top 20s in eight events played. He can really catch fire from tee-to-green which gives him winning upside. 

#84 Matt Jones

2019 SG Rank: 71
3-Year SG Rank: 91
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,792,186

Notes: He was living on the wrong side of the (top 125 and top 150) bubble for three years before posting a 17-for-27 record last season with six top 25s. Went back home to win the Australian Open, as well. The 39-year-old Aussie holds a career top-25 rate over 20 percent (66-for-298). Hasn't cracked the podium in a PGA TOUR event since 2015 but maybe his Aussie Open win will give him that added confidence to get him back over the top. 

#83 Lanto Griffin

2019 SG Rank: 82
3-Year SG Rank: 100
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,803,342

Notes: It's wild how Griffin was 50-percent in just making cuts in 2018 (13-for-26). You'd never guess that if you saw him numbers in 2019. He ended the Korn Ferry Tour season with top 25s in 10 of his last 14 starts and then snowballed it into six straight top 25s on the PGA TOUR, including a breakthrough win at the Houston Open. His likely 2020 output is probably somewhere in between. Not rattling off top 25s every week but not struggling to make cuts, either. 

#82 Phil Mickelson

2019 SG Rank: 115
3-Year SG Rank: 66
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,818,138

Notes: The dropoff was harsh after winning at Pebble Beach in February. He's hinted at some off-the-course or personal issues in pressers but may be underselling that side of things. If his mind is right then he's a huge bargain for 2020 but that is no guarantee. 

#81 Brian Stuard

2019 SG Rank: 75
3-Year SG Rank: 112
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,828,778

Notes: He's one of the shorter hitters on TOUR but above average from fairway to pin to make up for the lack of pop. The upside is limited on certain courses but he's rattled off top 25s in 49-of-233 career starts which is not too shabby and his 1-Year metrics are trending upward compared to his career baselines. We might be looking at a mid-career surge or maybe last year was the anomaly. 

#80 Harold Varner III

2019 SG Rank: 96
3-Year SG Rank: 95
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,835,277

Notes: The 29-year-old from the Carolinas does it all... except for putt. It may be tilting to watch his rounds on Shot Tracker but the end-of-season results are worth it. Still in his 20s so the best may still be yet to come. 

#79 Vaughn Taylor

2019 SG Rank: 46
3-Year SG Rank: 70
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,886,236

Notes: He's not getting any younger but he's coming off a season where he finished top 50 in the FedExCup race. That was his best finish since 2010. There are a few ways to look at this. One, you might think it was an outlier of a season. Two, you might suggest that his steady play is finally getting rewarded. Really it's been an uptick in his putting numbers that have driven the performance boost. Stay on for the ride until his putter cools off. 

#78 Harris English

2019 SG Rank: 83
3-Year SG Rank: 103
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,957,590

Notes: The future didn't look bright for English when he finished 118th, 125th, and then 149th in the FedExCup race for 2017, 2018, and 2019. It seemed like was taking a penalty due to an errant tee shot about once a round. It's all clicking again and the future looks bright again. English has gained strokes off-the-tee in 60% of his rounds over the last 12 months. His putter remains a lethal weapon. He heads into the holidays ranked top 15 in the 2020 FEC race with four top 10s in six fall starts. This rank is a little conservative as you'll likely need to draft him earlier if others are ready to ride the wave, as well. 

#77 Brendon Todd

2019 SG Rank: 68
3-Year SG Rank: 131
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,969,403

Notes: Speaking of career revivals, Todd went from having the swing yips to winning back-to-back tournaments in a matter of a year. It's hard to say what version will show up a safe bet is to go with his 1-Year Baseline which is 68th. His ball-striking numbers aren't well-suited for most TOUR courses so he won't be on my wish list, personally. 

#76 Nick Taylor

2019 SG Rank: 73
3-Year SG Rank: 97
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,000,368

Notes: The 31-year-old Canadian had the most consistent season of his career (21-for-28) but really didn't get as much out of the strong play as he could have. Based on the 1-Year SG Rank, he deserved to be top 80 in the FedExCup race but ended up at 120th. Isn't a sexy name but could have breakout written all over him by year's end. 

#75 Kyle Stanley

2019 SG Rank: 112
3-Year SG Rank: 73
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,006,888

Notes: Saw his 1-Year metrics dip quite a bit but still gained strokes on approach in 63% of his rounds played over the last 12 months. Quite good. His short-game streaks will determine how high his ceiling goes in 2020 but his ball-striking base provides a good floor. 

#74 Zach Johnson

2019 SG Rank: 99
3-Year SG Rank: 63
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,034,759

Notes: Before the year if I told you that ZJ finished outside the top 150 in the FedExCup standings then you'd probably assume his lack of distance finally caught up to him. Or that the aging curve set in. In reality, it was old reliable (the putter) that let him down, finishing 117th in SG Putting last season. That (along with wedge play) is really the strength of his game so I'd expect him to dial his putter back in for 2020 so it seems like a good time to buy low. 

#73 Brian Harman

2019 SG Rank: 89
3-Year SG Rank: 81
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,045,021

Notes: The smooth-swinging lefty went from playing WGCs in 2018 to missing 13 cuts last season. His 1-Year trends at this time last year looked real bad. Harman snapped out of it this summer with finishes of T31 or better in 7 of his last 13 starts to end the season, including a trio of top 10s. His per-round metrics say you should pick him closer to 90th but his pure volume of play gives him a nice boost. 

#72 Harry Higgs

2019 SG Rank: 94
3-Year SG Rank: 80
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,046,024

Notes: Racked up a gaudy amount of top 25s on the Korn Ferry circuit last season (13 in 22 starts). The rookie flashed his upside in the fall when he raced out to a 54-hole lead at the Bermuda Championship. 

#71 Danny Willett

2019 SG Rank: 54
3-Year SG Rank: 76
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,049,493

Notes: Back in great form and made 19 starts on the PGA TOUR last season but with it being a Ryder Cup year and all, it's hard to know where his starts will fall. He made two in the fall and if I had to guess I would peg him with 15 more by season's end. On a per-event basis, he's worth a top-50 pick but his lack of total-start upside knocks him down the board a bit for me. 

#70 Carlos Ortiz

2019 SG Rank: 72
3-Year SG Rank: 82
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,079,948

Notes: Some people wrote him off after his sub-par 2016 season but he's still just 28-years old. Ortiz finished 113th in the FedExCup race last season and had a close call in the fall with a runner-up finish at the Mayakoba in addition to a pair of other top 5s. This hot streak can all be traced back to when he became a first-time dad in June of 2018. Dad Life has been good to him and it appears that he enjoys providing for his little one. 

#69 Kevin Streelman

2019 SG Rank: 78
3-Year SG Rank: 78
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,080,287

Notes: He's jumped over the 40-years hump but not slowing down, cracking the Playoffs in 12 straight seasons. Streelman has made 26 or more starts in 10 of those seasons, so you are getting a high-volume golfer in addition to steady results. 

#68 Si Woo Kim

2019 SG Rank: 114
3-Year SG Rank: 120
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,088,347

Notes:  It was boom-or-bust for Kim early in his career but he hasn't withdrawn mid-event since 2017. Those days appear to be behind him. The 24-year-old has finished 55th or better in all four seasons on TOUR so you could really say that I'm underselling him here ranked just inside the top 70. 

#67 Shane Lowry

2019 SG Rank: 24
3-Year SG Rank: 35
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,101,152

Notes: A classic case of efficiency versus volume of play. Lowry has never cracked 20 starts in a single PGA TOUR season and that trend will likely continue as he splits time across the pond. 

#66 Ryan Moore

2019 SG Rank: 65
3-Year SG Rank: 53
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,108,086

Notes: Chucky 3 Sticks gets the label of ATM but Moore isn't too far behind. He's cashed over $1.1 million in 14 seasons played on the PGA TOUR.  Moore has made at least 22 starts in every one of those seasons and ended last year ranked 16th in SG Approach. He's still got it. 

#65 Emiliano Grillo

2019 SG Rank: 87
3-Year SG Rank: 52
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,120,971

Notes: The hot putter from 2018 regressed in a big way last year, finishing a career-worst 185th in SG Putting. Remains elite off-the-tee and on approach. A good time to buy low. 

#64 Sergio Garcia

2019 SG Rank: 37
3-Year SG Rank: 27
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,128,216

Notes: I talked about Dad Life being really good for Carlos Ortiz but it had the opposite effect for Garcia. Now he has baby number two on the way in April. Combine that with just 12-to-14 starts expected in addition to his 3 this fall, and it's hard to get too excited. You're banking on the big score coming in one of those weeks but he's just rotting on your bench for most of the year so his value really depends on the format of your league. 

#63 Keegan Bradley

2019 SG Rank: 92
3-Year SG Rank: 65
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,137,552

Notes: Came back down to earth last season after a career year in 2018. It was always going to be tough to back that up but now I'm interested to see how he responds in 202. He lost strokes putting in 61% of rounds measured over the last 12 months which is bottom 15 on TOUR of golfers that played at least 30 rounds in that time. 

#62 Bud Cauley

2019 SG Rank: 61
3-Year SG Rank: 67
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,144,774

Notes: Didn't let the scary car accident hold him down as he found seven top 25s for a third straight season. He does everything well, similar to a Rickie Fowler type, just needs convert some of those top 25s into top 10s and then start honing in on his first TOUR win. It wouldn't shock anyone if that finally happened in 2020. 

#61 Ian Poulter

2019 SG Rank: 35
3-Year SG Rank: 36
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,170,099

Notes: The Englishman has actually played a decent number of events on the PGA TOUR over the last three seasons (20, 20, 18) so that's nice to see. A lot of golfers that split time overseas find themselves limited to 15 or 17 starts but Poulter gives you a few extra. That being said, you're never going to get more than 20 in a season and he's not getting any younger. That is why he ranks at 61st instead of where the strokes-gained numbers suggest which is closer to 40th. 

#60 Bubba Watson

2019 SG Rank: 69
3-Year SG Rank: 62
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,181,367

Notes: He remains a firecracker with boom-or-bust weeks. His 3-Year baseline performance is around 60th but his good weeks are much better, evidenced by his three wins in 2018. Landed at 81st in the FedExCup standings last season as he didn't find a single podium finish. You're banking on wins with Bubba which historically has turned out pretty well (12 wins since 2010). 

#59 Sebastian Munoz

2019 SG Rank: 63
3-Year SG Rank: 77
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,182,129

Notes: Went 16-for-26 last season but really blossomed this fall with a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He's still outside the top 100 in OWGR so I would expect he maintains a heavy workload in 2020, trying to move up inside the top 50. 

#58 Wyndham Clark

2019 SG Rank: 100
3-Year SG Rank: 133
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,192,161

Notes: His rookie campaign was a smashing success (19-for-26 with eight top 25s to finish 64th in the FedExCup race). Combine that with his amateur pedigree and you have the recipe for his Rank being much higher than his 1-Year or 3-Year strokes gained metrics. A lot of upside for this youngster who grades out extremely well off-the-tee, around-the-green, and putting. 

#57 Corey Conners

2019 SG Rank: 56
3-Year SG Rank: 79
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,217,161

Notes: If the PGA TOUR increased the size of the hole then Conners would become a top-20 option but that's definitely not happening. Conners gained strokes off-the-tee in 80% of his measured rounds over the last year which is top 10 amongst all TOUR members. That's right up there with guys like Bubba Watson, Jason Day, and Brooks Koepka. Of course, Conners' short-game stats are at the far end of the other side of the spectrum. 

#56 Daniel Berger

2019 SG Rank: 80
3-Year SG Rank: 57
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,220,548

Notes: He's shown flashes of his old self but his iron play just isn't there still. It used to be the strongest part of his game but in 2019 he ranked 109th in SG Approach. It was basically a coin flip (50.7%) as to whether he would gain on approach in a given round. If you invest then you are banking on that part of his game returning in 2020. 

#55 Russell Knox

2019 SG Rank: 48
3-Year SG Rank: 54
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,255,400

Notes: The 34-year-old Scot is not the longest off the tee but he brings an otherwise well-rounded game to the table. That has resulted in at least seven top 25s in six straight seasons. He's finished outside the top 70 in the FedExCup race for three straight years but as you can tell from the 1-Year and 3-Year strokes gained ranks, he's likely getting a little unlucky in that regard. A good time to buy when others might be prematurely thinking his best days are behind him. 

#54 Chez Reavie

2019 SG Rank: 50
3-Year SG Rank: 46
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,281,088

Notes: They say distance trumps accuracy these days but don't tell that to Mr. Reavie. He hit more fairways than the field in 89% of his rounds played over the last 12 months which is best on the PGA TOUR. He is literally the most accurate golfer on TOUR. He's not too shabby with the irons either. Reavie ranked top 15 in SG Approach last season and was 4th on TOUR with 20 hole outs. It's tough for him to compete at some venues on TOUR but with 28 starts per season, there are plenty of weeks where the course suits his style of play. 

#53 Rory Sabbatini

2019 SG Rank: 44
3-Year SG Rank: 59
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,337,176

Notes: It was a wild resurgence season in 2019 as he gained over $2 million for the first time since 2011. Should we expect the magic to keep flowing? Probably not at the same level of efficiency but he's made at least 20 starts in every season since 1999. Only one of those was less than 23 starts (20 starts in 2016). 

#52 J.T. Poston

2019 SG Rank: 47
3-Year SG Rank: 74
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,343,906

Notes: He's now a PGA TOUR winner but even before then he was making cuts at a high rate (34-for-50 over his first two seasons and 21-for-29 last season). How does he get the job done? He's above average in every sub-category of strokes gained. A balanced attack is hard to argue with. 

#51 Tyrrell Hatton

2019 SG Rank: 39
3-Year SG Rank: 29
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,365,341

Notes: Similar to names like Lowry and Garcia, it comes down to weighing per-round efficiency against expected number of starts, and the prize pools in those events. Hatton has no problems with 1 or 3 but his expected number of starts will always be low, splitting time between tours. He's made two starts this fall and made 16 & 17 total starts the last two years. That puts him at just 14 or 15 starts this season for the 2020 calendar year. The promising thing is that if he lands a podium finish then it'll likely be in a strong event and pay off his salary tag for the entire season as a result. 

 

That does it for Part 2 of this series. Check back on Friday for the final 50 golfers. 


Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/culps-corner/top-150-golfers-2020-part-2