2013 Full membership fantasy rankingsJustin Rose had eight top-10s in 2012, and our fantasy guru likes him a lot in 2013.December 30, 2012
Every year when this feature publishes, someone asks if the other owners in my rotisserie league see and use it during our draft. The answer is heck yes, and they have clobbered me in the overall standings. I suppose that means the ranking works, except that my days of snagging a sleeper or two are long gone.
My new normal carries with it the vibe that everyone has my homework and they've blown my curve. As a result, any personal fulfillment for which my competitive spirit thirsts at the conclusion of the season has come in the form of your gracious emails and tweets about your success. I'd ask that you spread the word, but the funny thing about fantasy sports is that when you find a helpful resource, you tend not to share it with the opposition. Nevertheless, thanks for checking out my 2013 full-membership fantasy rankings.
Included on these pages are projections for most of the golfers with status through the Non-exempt Medical Extensions (categories 1-30 in the Priority Rankings. Among the active golfers omitted are 57-year-old Scott Hoch, who had planned on burning a career earnings exemption in 2012 but didn't play anywhere, so he'll plug it in again for 2013; Life Members Tom Watson and Greg Norman, both of whom play sporadically on the PGA TOUR; and PGA Professional National Champion, Matt Dobyns.
All non-members inside the top 50 of the year-ending edition of the Official World Golf Ranking are also included. All earned invitations to the Masters and are poised to parlay their ranking into additional opportunities in the biggest events. They belong on many fantasy rosters.
One of the greatest influences that determines value, quite naturally, is playing time. All golfers above the graduate reshuffle have the freedom to play any open event they want. Those in the reshuffle and below historically elbow for starts since the cutoff for most open events falls in this pool of talent. With a compressed schedule in 2013 -- 36 regular-season events, down one from a year ago; and the Fall Series has evolved into the start of the 2013-14 schedule -- some tournament organizers have been asked to make room for a larger field. While we won't know how that dynamic will pan out, its mere existence help quell our concern about investing deeper into the Priority Rankings.
While rotisserie formats are assured that the fully exempt will be given their opportunities to compete, salary gamers and one-and-doners must take into account that it's going to be more difficult than ever to establish league records with only 40 tournaments (including the FedExCup Playoffs). Everyone is in the same boat, so don't be discouraged if 2013 totals don't threaten previous seasons. You'll know why when it happens. If you play a salary game, use this money list to assign value. It includes all professionals that survived at least one cut in 2013, including at World Golf Championships.
As always, the fantasy content doesn't end here; in fact, it's just the beginning. Look for several weekly features including the staples you expect -- qualifiers for the majors, World Golf Championships events and THE PLAYERS; the graduate reshuffle and medical extensions. And as always, I'm forever reachable via Twitter and email.
Bolton's fantasy rankings: Nos. 1-50 Rank Golfer Age '12
Comment 1 Rory McIlroy 23 8.047M Hop on the bandwagon because its only stop is at the bank. 2 Tiger Woods 37 6.133M We're going to eventually look back on 2012 and realize that it was an underrated turning point. Had everything to lose and didn't. Still chasing Nicklaus, too. 3 Dustin Johnson 28 3.393M Not many can turn out nine top 10s in a season influenced by a pair of injuries. Still seems like he's just scratching the surface, too. Green light in all formats. 4 Jason Dufner 35 4.869M So much for any concern that 2011 was an anomaly. He's rapidly evolved into first-round reliability. 5 Bubba Watson 34 4.644M Whatever he's been able to do to harness the emotion is working. Cannot discount the balance in his life outside the ropes. 6 Matt Kuchar 34 3.903M Validated his first-round value with a win at TPC Sawgrass and another eight top 10s. In the heart of his prime. 7 Hunter Mahan 30 4.019M Coming off a career year despite disappearing for most of the summer and failing to qualify for the Ryder Cup. 8 Justin Rose 32 4.290M Still underrated in many formats. Enjoyed a monster 2012 despite only one victory. Buckle up for more. 9 Adam Scott 32 2.899M Undervalued across the board. Limited schedule contributes to that, but he converts much more often than he misfires. 10 Webb Simpson 27 3.436M If he tops out at 22 starts again, we can live with that. Given his consistency and balance, he's borderline first-round value. 11 Luke Donald 35 3.512M It was virtually impossible for him to replicate 2011, but he's priced right again. Limited U.S. schedule hurts his value, however. 12 Phil Mickelson 42 4.203M It's arguable that no one adapts more, and he's made the right decisions. Strong close to the year relieved concern after a slump, but we should've expected it. 13 Brandt Snedeker 32 4.989M The aw-shucks persona can fool you, but he converted when it mattered most in 2012. The sky is the limit. 14 Nick Watney 31 3.044M Rewarded his patient owners late with a victory (Barclays) and advancement to the TOUR Championship. Picked off a second win in Malaysia in October. Full steam ahead. 15 Keegan Bradley 26 3.910M Clearly wired for the big stage, which is gold in our world. 16 Carl Pettersson 35 3.538M Nothing not to love here. Fits all formats but salary games. Loves to play a ton, too. 17 Zach Johnson 36 4.504M Of the elite, he's been a bit of a tease year to year, so refrain from investing too early. More of a "1a" value. 18 Bo Van Pelt 37 3.043M Gamers don't care one bit that he's not a multiple champion on the PGA TOUR. Someone has to be the best of the rest, and you might as well pull up a chair. 19 Lee Westwood 39 3.016M A niche own due to his limited schedule, but by no means a reach. Has one more major before he turns 40 in late April. 20 Louis Oosthuizen 30 3.460M Like 2011, he closed out this year with a sparkling run worldwide to dangle that carrot once again. All five of his top 10s on the PGA TOUR in 2012 were top fives. 21 Graeme McDowell 33 2.408M Playing and talking like it's 2010 all over again. Put a lid on the year with a victory at the World Challenge. Unlikely to play in January. 22 Charl Schwartzel 28 1.138M Played through a rib injury sustained in the spring. Eventually roared back with a string of top fives to close out the year, including 11- and 12-stroke wins. Do not hesitate. 23 Jason Day 25 1.143M Juggled an ankle injury and the birth of his first child with 17 starts. Still posted four top 10s. Sure to be one of the most popular investments in salary games. 24 Ian Poulter 36 1.715M Impossible not to get giddy about what's next. The Ryder Cup hero showcased stroke-play mojo in China and Australia late in the year. Limited schedule is still an issue though. 25 Jim Furyk
42 3.623M The sympathetic figure of 2012 may be overlooked. Don't be ridiculous. Plus, he can smell the Hall of Fame, so there's no shortage of targets in his crosshairs. 26 Robert Garrigus
35 3.206M To some neophyte gamers, he may seem like he overachieved in 2012. I say he's just getting started. In his prime and stays busy. 27 Ernie Els 43
3.453M It would be unreasonable to expect more of the same from The Big Easy, but it would also be wrong to rule it out. 28 Peter Hanson
1.511M Rookie. Fulfilled expectations and he's still blooming. Accepted Special Temporary Membership in 2012 but topped out at 11 starts anyway. Won twice abroad late in the year. 29 Bill Haas
30 2.349M Largely invisible following his phenomenal win at Riviera, but that only makes the 2011 FedExCup champ more desirable moving forward. No worries. 30 Nicolas Colsaerts
30 677K Rookie. No chance he'll fall in any format ... and he shouldn't. Gamers unfamiliar with him will love his swagger, too. 31 Scott Piercy 34 2.699M
A gamer's dream. In his prime, plays a full schedule, fires at flags and he's now exempt into all four majors. Also exempt into the Cadillac Championship. 32 Ryan Moore
30 2.858M Talk about ending a career year on a high note, winning in Vegas and then remaining at home for the birth of his first child, a boy on Oct. 19. 33 Rickie Fowler
3.066M Putting woes and a sketchy back interrupted the makings of a breakout year. He's survived nearly 80 percent of his cuts in three seasons. 34 Martin Kaymer
Rookie. Was just a matter of time before he accepted membership. Finished the year strong and returned to the winner's circle with a title at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. 35 Seung-yul Noh
21 1.629M Probably the most overlooked rookie of 2012 because he didn't win, but he logged class highs of 24 cuts made and 13 top 25s. Zero chance he slides in any draft. 36 Matt Every
29 1.972M Capitalized on his return to the big leagues. It was a giant step, but not unexpected. Patience is key, however, as he'll settle for the occasional weekend off. 37 Chris Kirk
27 1.197M Excuse his sputtering first half as he had priorities at home with the birth of his first child in March. Riding a consecutive cuts made streak of 11 entering 2013. 38 Martin Laird
30 2.172M While mildly frustrating, his potential is too strong to bypass. Perhaps the absence of Ryder Cup distraction will simplify his approach. 39 Fredrik Jacobson 38 953K Missed only two of 17 cuts. Injuries prevented a full schedule, so he's priced nicely in salary formats. Plan for a rebound. 40 Kevin Na 29 2.029M Eventually overcame a shoulder injury during the summer with three late top-25s in October. Already exempt into the Masters. Should hit or exceed 25 starts. 41 Bud Cauley 22 1.774M Delivered in a big way as a rookie in 2012. Flirted with the top 50 in the world ranking in September before tapering off due to not playing, but that's his direction. 42 Brendon de Jonge 32 2.015M Makes most cuts and tees it up often. Makes a lot of birdies. The once-Sunday fade started to shed that label late in the year. 43 John Senden
41 1.916M All in all, a typical year despite a career-low 22 starts. Carte-blanche schedule yet again in 2013, too. Superb core value. 44 K.J. Choi 42 969K Automatic buy in salary games. Already eligible for the first three majors and hovering around No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking. 45 Tim Clark 37 1.407M Pretty much picked up where he left off pre-elbow surgery. Exempt into the Masters and on sale in salary gamers. 46 Steve Stricker
45 3.420M Squeezed a lot out of his schedule in 2012. No longer among on the top shelf, but he can see it from here. Severely limiting his schedule hurts value. 47 Jeff Overton 29 1.563M A must-have if your philosophy is to throw as much up against the wall as you can. Most of it will stick. The top-25 machine has survived 45 of his last 57 cuts. 48 Harris English 23 1.186M Carded just four of his 32 sub-70 scores in the final round, but still survived 22 cuts. Invest in all formats as his arrow is pointed straight up. 49 Padraig Harrington 41 1.546M Coming off a nice bounce-back season. While 16 top 20s worldwide won't crack the headlines, it gets our attention. 50 Scott Stallings 27 1.293M Love his tenacity and confidence. Rib injury be damned, he'd go on to join Keegan Bradley as the only 2011 rookies to win in each of their first two seasons on TOUR.