Web.com Tour priority ranking entering season finale

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 18, 2014, 12:38 pm

Fifty players will leave the Web.com Tour Championship with PGA Tour cards for the upcoming season. How those players are determined, though, requires a little math and a lot of explanation.

This week’s event on Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass is the fourth and final event of the Web.com Tour Finals. Players eligible for the Finals include Nos. 1-75 from the regular-season Web.com Tour money list, along with those who finished Nos. 126-200 in the FedEx Cup standings.

While 50 cards are up for grabs, 25 of them are already spoken for. The top 25 regular-season money earners from the Web.com Tour are all heading to the main circuit next season, though their priority ranking will be determined this week in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The remaining 25 cards will go to the top earners from the month-long Finals series, where Bud Cauley, Adam Hadwin and Justin Thomas won the first three events.

Although earning a card is the primary goal, a player's priority ranking will be a critical factor in forecasting his chances to succeed next season. The 50 graduates will be ranked from 1-50 based on earnings, and that ranking will be used to determine who gets into events during the first portion of the new season. The players with the highest rankings will likely get more starts, and the results from last season bear out that trend: six of the top 10 from the 2013 Finals priority ranking kept their PGA Tour cards, while none from Nos. 41-50 were able to retain full-time status.

In a change from last year, the top 25 regular-season Web.com earners were able to carry their earnings into the Finals rather than starting from scratch, lending greater emphasis on regular-season performance. Hence, the dollar figures for those 25 players represent their entire 2014 haul, while the others in the standings count simply the money they have won in the Finals.

The top two spots in the rankings go to the top overall earner (regular season plus Finals, currently Carlos Ortiz) and the top Finals earner (currently Hadwin). Each of the top two finishers will be fully exempt for next season and will receive a spot in the field at the 2015 Players Championship.

From there, the rankings alternate between players who began the Finals without a PGA Tour card (Cauley, Colt Knost, John Peterson) and those who had already earned a card by virtue of their Web.com Tour regular season earnings (Thomas, Andrew Putnam, Zack Sucher). The alternating format between the two categories is why Cauley, who has less Finals money than Thomas, is ranked No. 3, while Thomas is currently No. 4.

The race at the bottom is a tight one, as Patrick Rodgers leads Tag Ridings by only $703 for the 50th and final PGA Tour card entering this week's event. Other notable players currently on the outside looking in include Chad Campbell ($11,670 behind), Kyle Stanley ($17,640), Johnson Wagner ($19,430), Y.E. Yang ($23,860) and Trevor Immelman ($27,500). Despite the deficit, each is still in the running with $180,000 going to this week's winner and a top-five finish netting enough money to guarantee a card for next season.

Here is a look at the full priority ranking of the 50 players projected to earn PGA Tour cards heading into the Web.com Tour Championship:

Ranking Player Money Category
1  Carlos Ortiz  $515,403  Season Leader
1  Adam Hadwin  $499,667  2-25 Finisher
3  Bud Cauley  $180,000  PGA Tour 126-150
4  Justin Thomas  $470,469  2-25 Finisher
5  Colt Knost  $138,000  26-75 Finisher
6  Andrew Putnam  $340,037  2-25 Finisher
7  John Peterson  $127,600  PGA Tour 151-200
8  Zack Sucher  $313,466  2-25 Finisher
9  Richard Sterne  $111,800  Non-member 126-200
10  Blayne Barber  $306,601  2-25 Finisher
11  Tom Hoge  $81,100  26-75 Finisher
12  Tony Finau  $303,756  2-25 Finisher
13  Sam Saunders  $76,466  26-75 Finisher
14  Derek Fathauer  $288,185  2-25 Finisher
15  Greg Owen  $71,800  26-75 Finisher
16  Alex Cejka  $284,546  2-25 Finisher
17  David Lingmerth  $63,368  PGA Tour 126-150
18  Jason Gore  $272,346  2-25 Finisher
19  Whee Kim  $63,100  26-75 Finisher
20  Steven Alker  $261,900  2-25 Finisher
21  Tom Gillis  $61,449  26-75 Finisher
22  Andres Gonzles  $245,917  2-25 Finisher
23  Sean O'Hair  $58,000  PGA Tour 151-200
24  Jon Curran  $231,853  2-25 Finisher
25  Jim Herman  $57,725  PGA Tour 151-200
26  Daniel Berger  $220,985  2-25 Finisher
27  Scott Pinckney  $46,672  26-75 Finisher
28  Cameron Percy  $220,396  2-25 Finisher
29  J.J. Henry  $42,500  PGA Tour 151-200
30  Jonathan Randolph  $210,210  2-25 Finisher
31  Oscar Fraustro  $39,375  26-75 Finisher
32  Max Homa  $203,804  2-25 Finisher
33  Tyrone van Aswegen  $38,760  PGA Tour 126-150
34  Steve Wheatcroft  $193,219  2-25 Finisher
35  Hudson Swafford  $36,400  26-75 Finisher
36  Mark Hubbard  $192,787  2-25 Finisher
37  Nick Taylor  $33,535  26-75 Finisher
38  Kyle Reifers  $186,211  2-25 Finisher
39  Greg Chalmers  $32,620  PGA Tour 126-150
40  Ryan Armour  $183,216  2-25 Finisher
41  Roberto Castro  $32,380  PGA Tour 126-150
42  Byron Smith  $180,163  2-25 Finisher
43  Dicky Pride  $32,250  PGA Tour 151-200
44  Bill Lunde  $178,784  2-25 Finisher
T45  Carlos Sainz, Jr.  $31,950  26-75 Finisher
T45  Will Wilcox  $31,950  PGA Tour 126-150
47  Roger Sloan  $168,057  2-25 Finisher
48  Fabian Gomez  $162,321  2-25 Finisher
49  Vaughn Taylor  $31,107  26-75 Finisher
50  Patrick Rodgers  $30,000  Non-member 126-200
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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."