Jonas Blixt (Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE)

For Last Year's Tour Grads, No Guarantees

I got to thinking the other night. I wonder if the 25 players that graduated last year from the Tour thought things might be a little easier on the PGA TOUR? I know that sounds like a completely ridiculous question. After all, the PGA is the big leagues. It should be more difficult.

That is the point…sort of. Every sport has this type of story. Big shot excels at a certain level. Gets promoted or moves on to the next level. Upon reaching that next level, discovers things aren’t anywhere as easy as they were at the previous level.

Here’s the other reason I proposed such a question. With two weeks before the end of the Fall Series, only 9 of those 25 “grads” are in the top 125 on the PGA money list. For now, being the top 125 means you retain your card with full exempt status. And maybe the bigger shock, last year’s top money winner on the tour, J.J. Killeen, is in danger of losing his PGA card as he sits 155th on the money list.

Work to be done.

The safest of the safe is last week’s winner of the Open Jonas Blixt, ranking at #35 on the PGA TOUR money list. With his victory adding a cool $900,000 to his coffers, Blixt can kick back and enjoy the rest of the Fall Series if he so chooses. He is choosing not to do so as he is in the field for this week stop at the McGladrey at Sea Island. Here’s what a win can do for you. He will be grouped with David Toms and Jim Furyk.

Remember all the early season chatter about Matt Every? Hopefully, people will ow take notice of his game. No one will ever accuse Every of lacking confidence, and he has proven to us why he has that confidence. A T2 at the Valero Texas Open and a T3 at the Mayakoba would be enough to keep Every in the top 125 on their own, but Every also added a T6 at the Sony and Memorial along with a T8 at The Heritage.

You only have to go a handful of slots to #56 to find the next player: Ken Duke. While Duke does not own a PGA win this year, he does have 6 top 10s to his credit. Seems kind of strange referring to Duke as a “grad” from the Tour considering he’s been a pro since 1994.

Ted Potter, Jr. isn’t far behind Duke at #59 and he does own a win this year. And for your first win, The Greenbrier isn’t a shabby place to do so.

The other two players in the top 125 are John Mallinger (78), Martin Flores (96), Troy Kelly (109), Jason Kokrak (117), and Roberto Castro (118).

If my math is correct, and it will fail on occasion, those 9 of 25 represents 36%. In baseball “terms”, that would be a batting average of .360. That would be a darn good season. Better than both the National and American League leaders from this past regular season.

For Blixt and Potter, Jr, their wins this season provide an advantage of their 23 counterparts. They have that two year window. The others, unless they snare a win over the last two events, will have such a security blanket.

The closest thing to a guarantee.

Tags: PGA

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