Who is the best player without a PGA Tour win? Rex Hoggard and Jay Coffin offer up their takes in this always entertaining topic.
By REX HOGGARD
Fitting that it was Tim Clark, the consensus frontrunner for “Best player without a Tour victory” at this time last year, finished tied for second place on Sunday at the Sony Open with Steve Marino, the heir apparent to what must be the least-coveted title.
Although the burly Marino and diminutive Clark have little in common there is a shared quality that makes Marino the circuit’s most polished player without a “W” – an utter lack of fear.
On Sunday, as Marino inched toward his third runner-up finish at Waialae, Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo figured that the fourth-year player may have too many moving parts in his swing to ever be a regular Sunday threat on Tour.
But it’s that creativity that separates Marino from the current list of players vying for “Best player without . . .” honors. Marino’s caddie, G.W. Cable, also serves as his swing coach and sports psychologist and Marino consistently ranks among the circuit’s leaders in birdie average and scoring.
Marino also enjoys a level of seasoning that most other contenders to the B.P.W.T.T. lack with 19 top-10 finishes, which is nearly the same number of cuts Rickie Fowler (20) has made in his young career.
It’s that experience, combined with his creativity, that makes Marino the “Best Player without . . .” Just ask Clark.
By JAY COFFIN
Naysayers will hammer this pick and say the kid has only one season under his belt, but the numbers don’t lie. Rickie Fowler is the best player without a PGA Tour victory, although he won’t be for much longer.
For starters, the 22-year-old orange, shaggy-haired wonder is ranked 30th in the world. Anyone else up for consideration of the aforementioned moniker is ranked outside the top 50. Jeff Overton, ranked 51st, would be my honorable mention.
Fowler’s rookie season speaks for itself. It was good enough to earn him Rookie of the Year, it was good enough to be a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup and it was good enough to earn him $2.85 million in earnings, which was 22nd on the money list.
Although Fowler failed to capture that maiden victory in 2010 – and some still say he needs to learn the ability to close down the stretch – the year was an overwhelming success. He knocked on the door of victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and had the Memorial Tournament within grasp until a costly error jumped up and bit him. Three second-place finishes and nine top-10s in such a young, promising career is strong by anyone’s standards.
Perhaps Fowler is my choice because there are not many candidates for this label.
Doesn’t matter, the kid is legit.