Harold Varner III
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Culp's Corner

Top 150 Golfers for 2021: Part 3

Updated On: January 2, 2021, 2:53 pm ET

Continuing my dive into the list of PGA TOUR members, here are 25 more golfers to consider in 2021 for fantasy-golf leagues that are set to draft before the New Year. 

If you missed the first two sections then you can find them here: 

PART ONE (126th to 150th)

PART TWO (101st to 125th)

As a reminder, here are the underlying stats that are being used: 

6-Month Performance = Strokes Gained per Round during all worldwide events over the last six months. This is a good guide to see what golfers were trending well to end the year, after the mid-season restart. 

2-Year Performance = Strokes Gained per Round during all worldwide events since 2019. This is how you can see a golfer's long-term baseline. A good chunk of golfers will gravitate back toward this number while a handful will make big moves in either direction that actually stick. 

Projected 2021 Earnings = An estimate of PGA TOUR earnings during the 2020-21 season, excluding any money collected during the fall schedule. 

100. Matt Jones

6-Month SG Rank: 103
2-Year SG Rank: 92
Projected 2021 Earnings: $723983

Notes: The 40-year-old is getting better with age. After landing outside of the Top 125 in three straight seasons he's bounced back with top-100 FedEx finishes in each of the last two years. His 2-Year Performance rank sits at 92nd which is right in line with his FedExCup finishes (91st and 95th). That is a good baseline for expectations but he's also in his 40s now so you know what you are getting at this point. 

99. Max Homa

6-Month SG Rank: 103
2-Year SG Rank: 86
Projected 2021 Earnings: $731960

Notes: Homa provides a lot of insider intel on his podcast with Shane Bacon. He's gone 30-for-46 over the last two seasons, racking up top 25s in 10 of those starts. It's still hard for me to mentally block out his early years of missed cuts but I'm slowly coming around. Realistically, this is the lowest you should draft him and he should probably be drafted in the 65 to 85 range. 

98. James Hahn

6-Month SG Rank: 88
2-Year SG Rank: 116
Projected 2021 Earnings: $734742

Notes: He's a two-time TOUR winner and has 17 total top 10s in 189 starts. Once know for his erratice results, Hahn went 37-for-54 over a two-year stretch before injuries slowed him down. He impressed this fall with three straight top 10s (Safeway Open, Corales, Shriners). The Cal-Berekely product is healthy again so look for a few more top-heavy finishes in 2021. 

97. Patton Kizzire

6-Month SG Rank: 72
2-Year SG Rank: 134
Projected 2021 Earnings: $751966

Notes: He slipped off the radar for a year or two after his breakout wins early in the 2017-18 campaign. Kizzire looked sharp again this fall, racking up finishes of T32 or better in each of his last four starts (T24, T11, T10, T32). He's gained strokes putting in 66% of his last 50 measured rounds. That puts him inside of the top 15 of all TOUR pros. If you prefer ball-strikers only then give Kizzire a pass but if you want a guy that can get red-hot with the flat stick then Kizzire should be on your watch list. 

96. Tom Hoge

6-Month SG Rank: 84
2-Year SG Rank: 116
Projected 2021 Earnings: $760172

Notes: The man from Fargo was always a standout ball-striker but struggled with the putter. That's why it's so surprising to see him gain strokes putting in all seven measured events this fall. If he can even be TOUR average with the putter in 2021 then he'll be a steal in season-long drafts. That's a big 'if' but not so impossible after seeing the putting form this fall. 

95. Charley Hoffman

6-Month SG Rank: 87
2-Year SG Rank: 101
Projected 2021 Earnings: $775909

Notes: The 43-year-old is getting up there in age but continues to rattle off top 25s at a very high clip. He's collected five or more top 25s in all 15 seasons played. He's becoming less consistent but the big finishes have still been there. 

94. John Huh

6-Month SG Rank: 21
2-Year SG Rank: 106
Projected 2021 Earnings: $795552

Notes: He was the rookie of the year back in 2012 when he won the Mayakoba, finishing 29th in the FedExCup race. Since then, he's landed outside of the top 90 in seven of eight seasons. Where is the upside? Well, he's missed some time due to injury over the last two seasons. When he returned this fall he rattled off top 20s in three of four events played. Just a lucky stretch of good form? Or is he finally healthy and ready to showcase what we saw in him back in 2012? 

93. Francesco Molinari

6-Month SG Rank: 119
2-Year SG Rank: 76
Projected 2021 Earnings: $805996

Notes: The Italian has been a shell of himself since the 2019 Masters. Whether it's mental, physical, or both, you can't deny the decline in baseline performance. On a positive note, he moved his family to California during the COVID-19 break so perhaps we'll see him peg it more in the States this season. A great pick in leagues that use last season's earnings as a salary. 

92. Charl Schwartzel

6-Month SG Rank: 79
2-Year SG Rank: 114
Projected 2021 Earnings: $809345

Notes: The South African has struggled off the tee since returning from injury but he's been better than TOUR average in approach, around-the-green, and putting. His well-round attack (minus driving) should make him a target on less-than-driver courses this season, or any course that doesn't heavily penalize errant tee shots. 

91. Scott Piercy

6-Month SG Rank: 98
2-Year SG Rank: 84
Projected 2021 Earnings: $820063

Notes: He didn't please his sponsors with some political commentary but he continues to reward fantasy owners. Piercy tied a career-low in top 25s last season (4) but he rebounded with three already this fall. Gamers should give him a look anytime a course requires a lot of short irons or wedges. 

90. Lucas Glover

6-Month SG Rank: 76
2-Year SG Rank: 58
Projected 2021 Earnings: $825513

Notes: The 41-year-old is a tough nut to crack. He surged out of nowhere in 2017 to land four top 10s and added seven top 10s just two seasons later. However, he has just four total top 10s in the the other five seasons since 2014. The underlying ball-striking numbers are still solid so we shouldn't toss him off our radar entirely but it wouldn't shock me if he fell back off the map in the next year or two. 

89. Ryan Moore

6-Month SG Rank: 68
2-Year SG Rank: 58
Projected 2021 Earnings: $828203

Notes: Where has Ryan been this fall? He was a WD during leg one of the FedExCup Playoffs and hasn't made a start yet during the new season. When someone misses multiple months of action it almost always means an injury is the culprit. That adds a lot of risk into this pick but if he returns to action in January then you'd be getting a good bargain. This pick comes down to risk tolerance. 

88. Mark Hubbard

6-Month SG Rank: 86
2-Year SG Rank: 88
Projected 2021 Earnings: $842682

Notes: He's always shown himself as a steady cut-maker but Hubbard took it up a notch last season with a 19-for-24 record that landed him at 44th in the FedExCup standings. Looking at his strokes-gained metrics, Hubbard gained strokes on approach in 54% of his measured round, gained around-the-green in 53% of his rounds, and gained with the putter in 55% of measured rounds. The Denver native should only be getting more and more confidence now that he's rattled off seven top 25s in a single season. Perhaps the next step is to start contending on a regular basis. 

87. Adam Hadwin

6-Month SG Rank: 98
2-Year SG Rank: 68
Projected 2021 Earnings: $855923

Notes: Some people embraced the COVID break while others did not. Hadwin falls in the latter bucket. Since the return he's gone 12-for-16 which is pretty solid but just one of those has doubled as a top-25 finish. The Canadian still has some of the best short-game skills on TOUR he just need to dial in the ball-striking again. That should be a reasonably easy fix as he readies for the 2021 schedule. A good buy-low candidate if his market value is low due to the poor performance this summer and fall. 

86. Brandt Snedeker

6-Month SG Rank: 132
2-Year SG Rank: 61
Projected 2021 Earnings: $862638

Notes: Sneds went through a slump last year but talked a big game during the fall about the state of his game. How did the quotes line up with his performance? He was T4 through 54 holes at he Sanderson Farms, he was T14 through 54 holes at the Shriners and was also the solo leader at the Houston Open. The final results of those starts don't make it look all that promising but when you combine the flashes of form with the confidence in the press room, Snedeker seems very close to returning to his old self. A nine-time winner on TOUR. 

85. Russell Knox

6-Month SG Rank: 123
2-Year SG Rank: 73
Projected 2021 Earnings: $876597

Notes: The Scot has gained strokes on approach in 65% of his measured rounds in the last year. That puts him alongside names like Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Doc Redman, Joaquin Niemann, and Xander Schauffele in terms of iron play. The problem is that Knox turned that iron play into just 11-of-22 cuts made last season to finish 127th in the FedExCup race. His worst season since 2013. A great pick in leagues that use last year's money earned to establish a golfer's market price. 

84. Henrik Stenson

6-Month SG Rank: 89
2-Year SG Rank: 40
Projected 2021 Earnings: $885101

Notes: The Swede played just five events last season and was very chill about it. He chose to spend time with his family instead of grinding during a season that meant nothing for his long-term status. Now, he faces the problem of playing catch-up in terms of competitive reps. He went just 3-for-9 after returning to competition in last summer and then settled for a T36 in Dubai for the European Tour's season finale. The 44-year-old hasn't eclipsed 16 starts in a single season since 2013 so you are banking on a return to form and for him to do it while presumably playing a light schedule. 

83. Doug Ghim

6-Month SG Rank: 82
2-Year SG Rank: 123
Projected 2021 Earnings: $889944

Notes: The youngster finished 32nd in GIR Percentage last season and 55th in strokes gained around-the-green. That's a combination that takes a lot of stress out of rounds. It's no surprise to see him finally converted those stress-free rounds into steady results early in the new campaign. After settling for five paychecks in 16 starts last year he is already 5-for-6 this fall with four of those doubling as top 25s. The arrow is definitely pointing up for the 24-year-old. 

82. Maverick McNealy

6-Month SG Rank: 106
2-Year SG Rank: 83
Projected 2021 Earnings: $901236

Notes: It feels like he's been grinding for a decade now but the Stanford product just turned 25-years old in November. McNealy has already gained 3 or more strokes putting in 12 measured rounds in his young career. His ability to pop with the putter should eventually lead to a breakout win. 

81. Henrik Norlander

6-Month SG Rank: 76
2-Year SG Rank: 112
Projected 2021 Earnings: $910183

Notes: The Swede landed a trio of top 10s last season and already has another this fall. A pretty remarkable rate when you consider he's been inside of the top 10 after just nine rounds since the start of the 2019-20 campaign. Norlander landed more greens in regulation compared to the field in 12 of his last 14 events played. That steady striking makes him a perfect DFS option when fairways are at a premium. Norlander is one of the straightest shooters on TOUR. 

80. Tyler Duncan

6-Month SG Rank: 78
2-Year SG Rank: 127
Projected 2021 Earnings: $916191

Notes: The Purdue product had a career season last year that included a breakout win (The RSM Classic) and three other top 25s. He was steady making paydays, too, with just nine missed cuts in 25 starts. Duncan was 6th on TOUR in driving accuracy and 51st in strokes gained approaching-the-green. 

79. Tiger Woods

6-Month SG Rank: 95
2-Year SG Rank: 28
Projected 2021 Earnings: $937733

Notes: The Big Cat kicked off last season with a win at the ZOZO Championship which is wild to think about that being just last season. Overall, his season lacked major roar as he made just four starts after the restart (and three more this fall). I don't think you'll ever find him undervalued in any league, given his popularity. That means you need his health to cooperate in 2021 in order to pay off his draftday price tag. Woods was still gaining strokes on approach in 72% of his measured rounds last year so it's just a matter of him fixing the short-game issues. 

78. Byeong Hun An

6-Month SG Rank: 113
2-Year SG Rank: 50
Projected 2021 Earnings: $947301

Notes: Speaking of short-game issues, An is the king of causing ShotLink tilt on the putting greens. Over the last year he's lost strokes putting in 66% of his measured round. That puts him inside of the top 10 of all TOUR members, and not top 10 in a good way. We can live with poor putting as long as the it doesn't bleed into the rest of his game. So far he's done a good job of avoiding that. The upside is that he could find something that clicks with the putter and that would turn him into a top-25 talent. 

77. Wyndham Clark

6-Month SG Rank: 108
2-Year SG Rank: 94
Projected 2021 Earnings: $954697

Notes: Most people probably think of his driver when looking for his strongest weapons. However, he loses strokes off-the-tee when looking at his career baselines but he's one of the most consistent around-the-greens and with the putter. If he dials in the errant drives then suddenly he looks a lot like Brooks Koepka. I think it's worth paying up in drafts and hoping this is the year that he makes the big leap. 

76. Harold Varner III

6-Month SG Rank: 83
2-Year SG Rank: 81
Projected 2021 Earnings: $961984

Notes: He was a fast starter in 2020, positioning himself at T11 or better through round one in four of his last eight events to end the year. He held two first-round co-leads last season. HV3 ranked 17th in strokes gained off-the-tee last season, 28th in approach, and 32nd around-the-green. His 6-month and 2-year numbers suggest you should draft him in the 80s but it seems like a win or a few podium finishes are always just around the corner. I would gladly boost him in my rankings and take him in the 60-to-80th range. 

Check back soon for part four where we'll begin to dive into the next 25 golfers to target for the 2021 schedule. 


Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/culps-corner/top-150-golfers-2021-part-3