By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Thorbjorn Olesen accepted Special Temporary Membership [STM] last week. They join Jordan Spieth among this year's class. Given the fantasy value of all three, this is a good time for a refresher course on what STM grants and how it should influence your strategy.
Special Temporary Membership rewards qualifiers with three immediate perks. First, the cap of seven sponsor exemptions laid on all non-members is removed. Second, the restriction of 12 starts (plus THE PLAYERS) allowable to non-members is also lifted. Third, each is added to the Beyond 150 Reshuffle that includes Past Champions and Veteran Members.
Now, despite the term "Membership" in the label, like non-members, Fernandez-Castano, Olesen and Spieth are not eligible for the FedExCup. The only way any could qualify is by winning an official event. Should one pick off a title, his non-member FedExCup points would be awarded retroactively. Through the RBC Heritage, Spieth has 340 (and would rank T57 if eligible), Fernandez-Castano has 278 (75th) and Olesen 258 (80th).
Should none pull out a victory, his earnings as a non-member are then used to determine membership status for 2013-14. Each would need to finish inside the top 125 with his non-member money to earn fully exempt status for next season. That level in the Priority Rankings will be higher than the graduates of the inaugural Web.com Tour Finals, so none would need to compete for the sole purpose of improving status. Incidentally, this is the last season that earnings will be used as the measurement for determining status for non-members. Beginning with 2013-14, non-member FedExCup points will be used.
Look for my choices for PGATOUR.COM’s fantasy game in Expert Picks. My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
On a Roll
Jordan Spieth ... Coming off a T9 at the RBC Heritage, his third top 10 in seven starts on the PGA TOUR this season. Currently 12th on TOUR in total driving, 36th in greens in regulation, 19th in adjusted scoring and sixth in the all-around. Phenomenal splits for anyone, much less a 19-year-old.
K.J. Choi ... Tied for 18th at Harbour Town where he ranked eighth in strokes gained-putting and second in par-4 scoring. He's 9-for-11 on the season with four top 25s. Hasn't missed a cut in four appearances at TPC Louisiana where his best finish is a T3 during what was a mammoth 2011 for the South Korean.
Camilo Villegas ... Top 20s in three of his last four starts, including in each of his last two. Ranks 25th in greens in regulation and 48th in adjusted scoring. Placed T18 at TPC Louisiana last year. He co-led the field in par-3 scoring and went 61-for-63 in putts from eight feet and in.
Chris Kirk ... Hasn't missed a cut in seven starts, four of which went for a top 25. Fourth on TOUR in strokes gained-putting, fifth in scrambling, sixth in adjusted scoring and 10th in the all-around.
Jerry Kelly ... The 2009 champion has no better than a T65 in his other four appearances at TPC Louisiana, but he finished fifth last week at Harbour Town where he led the field in fairways hit, ranked 18th in strokes gained-putting and T3 in par-4 scoring. It was his first top five since a T4 at the 2011 Wyndham Championship.
Horses for Courses
David Toms ... One of the unofficial ambassadors for golf in the Bayou State, the Louisiana State University product has survived each of his last five cuts at this week's host course. That record includes a T5 in 2009 and a T18 in 2011. More recently, his closing 67 at the Masters co-led the field and vaulted him into a share of 13th place, easily his best result of the year.
Andres Romero ... While his value is always highest in full-season formats, this is a rare week when he could be plugged in as a calculated flier. Won this event in 2008 en route to being PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. He's added a T8 (2011) since.
Cameron Tringale ... Continues to lurk just under the radar but ranks a lofty 32nd in FedExCup points. Top 20s the last two years at TPC Louisiana, including a career-best T7 in 2012 when he ranked T2 in par breakers.
Graham DeLaet ... Tied for fourth here last year, ranking T7 in par-3 scoring average and T4 in par-5 scoring. Two top 10s and another three top 25s among eight cuts made in 11 starts this season. Currently third on TOUR in greens in regulation, 24th in scrambling and 43rd in adjusted scoring.
Ken Duke ... The 2007 runner-up at TPC Louisiana has also finished T21 in 2010 and T7 in 2012. Led last year's field in strokes gained-putting. He placed T18 at Harbour Town last week for his second top 20 in four starts.
Charlie Wi ... Something will give this week, but it's likely going to sway in favor of the positive because he has a documented and reliable record on certain tracks. After starting the season with seven cuts made, he's missed his last three and hasn't broken par in his last 12 rounds. However, he's finished no worse than T21 in his last three trips to TPC Louisiana. That run included a co-runner-up in 2009.
David Mathis ... Site of two of his three top 10s in 97 career PGA TOUR starts, TPC Louisiana has been good to the 39-year-old. He's earned more money at the course than any other; in fact, his take is more than double of TPC Southwind, which ranks second.
Not So Fast
John Senden ... He's 5-for-5 at TPC Louisiana with a pair of top 15s, but he's managed just one top 25 among seven cuts made in 10 starts this year. Hasn't broken 70 in his last 14 rounds. The Aussie has carved out his career as a tee-to-green sharpshooter, but after ranking inside the top 12 on TOUR in ball-striking every season since 2002, he's currently 107th.
Gary Woodland ... He's survived four straight cuts for the first time since March of last year, but the last two resulted in MDFs and he's broken 70 just once in his last 19 rounds.
Jason Bohn ... The inspirational winner of this event in 2010 has missed six of 10 cuts this season. Only top-65 finish was a T40 at Pebble Beach.
Steve Marino ... Still has 13 starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension, but has survived just three of eight cuts this season, only one of which going for a top 55.
Tommy Gainey ... Tied for third at TPC Louisiana in 2011, but since his season-opening T6 at Kapalua, he's 3-for-12 with no top 35s.
Colt Knost ... Finished T24 at last year's Zurich Classic of New Orleans but hasn't recorded a top 40 among five cuts made in 11 starts this season. He's also missed his last three cuts.
Seung-yul Noh ... He's missed five of his last six cuts and hasn't broken 71 in his 13 rounds.
David Lingmerth ... Since his playoff loss at the Humana Challenge, he's 2-for-8 with no better than a T50 at Bay Hill. The rookie has missed three straight cuts entering this week.
Matt Every ... Despite success at Harbour Town in the past, last week's visit didn't furnish a stopgap to his tailspin. He tied for 83rd and missed the 54-hole cut by three strokes. It extended his drought without a top 30 to eight starts.
Fabian Gomez ... Since his co-runner-up in Puerto Rico, he's missed three cuts and withdrew before Saturday's restart of the second round at last week's RBC Heritage. He wasn't going to make the cut anyway.
Ross Fisher ... Has yet to find a groove in his rookie season during which he's logged just one top 30. Missed four of his last five cuts.
Roberto Castro ... Riding his second 0-for-3 slide of the season, but he's finished inside the top 25 three of the five times he's survived a cut.
Patrick Reed ... Ended an 0-for-4 skid with a T71/MDF at the RBC Heritage. Just inside the bubble at 124th in FedExCup points, however.
Morgan Hoffmann ... Forced to juggle time on the Web.com Tour, the rookie has missed five of seven cuts on the PGA TOUR, including his last two.
Robert Allenby ... Only cut made in 11 starts resulted in a T72 at Bay Hill. Hasn't broken 70 in his last 19 rounds.
Jim Herman ... He's missed three straight cuts and hasn't posted a top 35 among two cuts made in seven starts.
Michael Letzig ... Just 1-for-6 on the year with a T60 at Torrey Pines.
Scott Gardiner ... The rookie has missed seven consecutive cuts and hasn't broken par in over two months.
Derek Ernst ... Missed five straight cuts since opening his rookie season with a T59 at Waialae.
Back in the Saddle
Greg Chalmers ... With a pair of top 10s and two more top 30s in his last four appearances at TPC Louisiana, course history buffs may be tilting in his direction. However, he walked off Harbour Town during his second round last week with an injury to his left hand. The Aussie has been a warrior throughout his career, as that was just his second mid-tournament WD in 320 career starts.
Jason Gore ... Scheduled to compete in the Web.com Tour's South Georgia Classic Presented by First State Bank and Trust. Last played at the Valero Texas Open where he withdrew during his final round.
Robert Garrigus ... Withdrew on Tuesday. Tweeted that he's planning on returning at next week's Wells Fargo Championship. Ended a four-start stretch without a top 35 with a T24 at last week's RBC Heritage.
Bud Cauley ... This is the first time in his budding career that he's withdrawn after a commitment deadline and before the opening round. Just 4-for-11 in his sophomore season with no top 15s.
John Mallinger ... He's survived seven of 12 cuts but ranks 144th in FedExCup points because he hasn't posted a top 25.
William McGirt ... Tied for 88th at last week's RBC Heritage where he shot 80 in the third round to miss the 54-hole cut by five strokes.
Tom Gillis ... Withdrew early for the second consecutive week. He's missed three consecutive cuts and hasn't broken 71 in eight rounds.