With new membership to the PGA Tour only coming by way of the top 50 on the Web.com Tour and the former Fall Series events being the official start of a new year along with being awarded full FedEx Cup Points, the first year was a huge success in my opinion.
Just look at the facts…
While all of the top ranked players in the OWGR (Official World Golf Rankings) are taking the regular tour events in the fall, the rank and file are busy honing their skills to propel themselves up the FedEx Cup Points and on to the top tier of the golf elite like last year. When the highest ranked players had just begun their competition schedule at the Mercedes Championship, let’s look at the relative unknowns that started January 2015 at the top of the FedEx Standings and where they finished before the Playoffs began. After an incredible start to the 2014-2015 season Jimmy Walker was number 1, Harris English 2, Chris Kirk 4. Each player had one victory in the 2014 events to start the official schedule. Thus gaining them entry into the Mercedes Championship, The Masters, and the Players Championship. While Walker won twice more and Kirk won again all three finish in the top 20 in FedEx Cup points. As we were getting know Jimmy Walker every week while he dominated the FedEx Cup race. You may not know all 3 made the BMW Championship in Atlanta, the final event reserved for the top 30 in FedEx Cup points. Chris Kirk had an incredible Playoffs, finishing the FedEx Cup Standings very strong at number 2! While Jimmy Walker was 7th and Harris English at 27. In addition there were 4 others who played in at least 3 events last fall that finished the year in the top 30: Patrick Reed at 9, Kevin Na at 20, Matt Every at 25 and John Senden at 26. Almost 25 percent of the field!
This fall has seen an addition of two more events, making total of 6 regular Tour stops before the beginning of 2015. Giving the Tours elite more points and more winners to contend with next year. This should make those cherry pickers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickleson “man up to keep up” and add some of the smaller tour stops to their less than busy tour schedule. Upcoming players like Rob Streb and Sang-Moon Bae, are joining ranks with PGA Tour veterans Charlie Hoffman and Ryan Moore with early victories. Setting the bar high for the rest of the 2014-2015 competition schedule. Combine that with Web.com graduates Tony Finau and Nick Taylor, who already has a victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship, and recent European Tour winner, Big Bomber Brooks Koepka, along with the return of two time PGA TOUR winner Scott Piercy, who is coming off a major medical exemption by winning over $300,000 already, this coming year could see a few new faces atop the FedEx Cup and the Official World Golf Rankings again. Making it awfully crowded and incredibly interesting to watch.
With a new, fully rehabbed Tiger Woods, a much trimmer, rejuvenated Phil Mickleson, and an undistracted Rory McIlroy, 2015 is primed to continue the amazing momentum it finished with last season. Best of luck and Big Nuggets to all! TGM
Faces to look for in 2015