Who is the best player without a PGA Tour win?

By Rex HoggardOctober 9, 2012, 12:23 pm

A little fame and a pocket full of cash are nice, but you don't want to be on the list of best players without a PGA Tour title. GolfChannel.com writers offer up their guy who tops the list.


The title nobody wants may have transitioned to the player few people can pick out of a lineup, following Sunday’s near miss in Las Vegas. By way of introductions, meet Brendon De Jonge – the most-recent member to be saddled with the moniker “Best player without a Tour title.'

For the record, de Jonge’s runner-up showing at the Justin Timberlake stop was the first of his career but the Zimbabwean hasn’t exactly been delivering goose eggs since he join the PGA Tour in 2007. He has 37 top-25 finishes in 146 Tour starts and hasn’t finished outside the top 60 in FedEx Cup points since 2009.

But the most impressive component of de Jonge’s resume is how he continues to improve from year to year. In 29 starts this season he’s missed just four cuts, compared to eight in 2011 and ’10, and 13 in 2009.

What may ultimately separate de Jonge from the rest of the Tour’s also-rans, however, is how motivated he is sure to be next year. De Jonge will by vying for a spot on the 2013 International Presidents Cup team which will be captained by Nick Price, his mentor and childhood idol.

“It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and call someone who is that accomplished,” de Jonge said earlier this summer of Price. “He’s so straight forward; he will give me a kick in the butt when I need that.”


I always have an issue when trying to name the BPTHNWAPGATE. That would be Best Player To Have Never Won A PGA Tour Event – the granddaddy of all golf acronyms.

My first thought is to reward longevity. Briny Baird is 97th on the all-time money list with $12,634,862 – the highest total for a non-winner – but I’m not sure anyone has ever watched Baird and considered him the “best” of anything. No disrespect intended, of course.

My next thought is to employ the ol’ eyeball test. That Nicolas Colsaerts fellow looked pretty darn good at the Ryder Cup – for one day, at least. Same could be said for Peter Hanson, who had top-10s in two majors and two WGC events this year. But those guys don’t ply their trade full-time on the PGA Tour, so keep an asterisk next to each of their names.

Then I start thinking about potential. If the term “best” is supposed to prioritize the most talented, then players such as Ryo Ishikawa and Matteo Manassero should step to the head of the class. Still in the embryonic stages of their careers, though, it’s impossible to maintain that either one has unfulfilled potential, so weighing them down with such a label appears too hasty.

So instead I’m going to find a way to sort of include all three categories. Give me a guy who’s been out there grinding for a while, owns plenty of innate talent and still shows a world of potential.

For me, that player is Jeff Overton. Already a Ryder Cup competitor, the 29-year-old has four second-place finishes, three thirds, 24 top-10s and is just a pocketful of loose change away from breaking the $10 million barrier in career earnings.

Then again, being atop this list is always a double-edged sword. It shows he’s proven himself, yet also has underachieved. Don’t expect Overton to remain here for too much longer. Pretty soon he’ll be vying for BPTHWOOPGATE honors. That would be Best Player To Have Won Only One PGA Tour Event.


Give me Bud Cauley.

I know, he’s a PGA Tour rookie with just 35 career starts, and he has never led a PGA Tour event after any round. I know this is about who is the best player right now without a PGA Tour win, but I’m still going all in on Cauley's talent and potential. He’s good enough to win right now, to win this week’s Frys.com Open.

Cauley, 22, has recorded six top-10 finishes this year. That’s the same number Brendon de Jonge has logged in the last two years.

No knock on de Jonge, 32, who looks to be on track to a breakthrough victory, but the bet here is that by the time Cauley reaches the 146 career starts de Jonge has made, Cauley will have more than one PGA Tour title on his resume.

Cauley showed something under pressure coming out of the University of Alabama last year and securing his PGA Tour card in eight starts. He joined Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Scott Verplank, Ryan Moore and Gary Hallberg as the only players to come straight out of college and qualify for the Tour without going to Q-School. That’s a pretty good list to use as an indicator of future success.


It’s probably true that Charlie Wi is better known for those Stack & Tilt commercials than anything he’s done on the golf course. Indeed, his has been an unspectacular career of middling finishes (top-25 finishes in 27 percent of his career starts) and consistency (six consecutive seasons inside the top 100 on the money list).

Essentially, he’s the modern-day PGA Tour pro: good enough to get in contention a few times, still ridiculously wealthy (more than $8.7 million in career earnings).

But the argument could be made, after an examination of his career record, that he’s the best player yet to have won on the PGA Tour. Unlike some of his younger, splashier and nonetheless winless colleagues, Wi has actually been in the mix for multiple titles – five runner-up finishes, to be exact. Nearly once each year he’s been on Tour.

Did he convert? Well, no, which is how he landed on this list to begin with. This year, Wi had a three-shot lead at Pebble Beach before he – and the rest of the field – was lapped by Phil Mickelson. He played well for four rounds at the 2011 Colonial and was edged by David Toms. He closed with 61 at the 2008 Valero and still couldn’t catch Zach Johnson.

The point? Winning on the PGA Tour requires an enormous level of skill, sure, but also some luck. Following the trends, it might soon be Wi’s time.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.