By Rob Bolton, Fantasy Insider
With his one-stroke triumph at the Frys.com Open, Jonas Blixt became the third rookie to win in 2012, following John Huh (Mayakoba Golf Classic) and Ted Potter, Jr. (The Greenbrier Classic). Naturally, with the penultimate tournament of the season contested this week, the discussion for Rookie of the Year is reaching a climax.
Since joining PGATOUR.COM in 2010, I've written a weekly subjective rookie ranking . In the beginning, I stuck by a proven points system that I use in my rotisserie league. Here it is: Win = 15 points; 2nd-5th = 8 points; 6th-10th = 5 points; 11th-25th = 3 points; 26th or worse = 1 points and Missed cut/Withdrawal/Disqualification = 0 points
Using that system in 2010, Rickie Fowler scored 69 points to Rory McIlroy's 50. Even though McIlroy was the only of the two to win an event, Fowler was voted Rookie of the Year thanks to seven top-10s among 20 cuts made in 28 starts. McIlroy went 12-for-16 with five top-10s. Derek Lamely was the only other rookie to win a tournament in 2010, but he ranked seventh under my system with 31 points.
The bumper crop of rookies in 2011 yielded seven victories by six golfers. The only two-time champ, Keegan Bradley, not only ran away with Rookie of the Year, he made a strong case for Player of the Year, ultimately falling to Luke Donald for that award. Using the points system above, Bradley tallied 70. Masters champ Charl Schwartzel shared second place with non-winner Kyle Stanley with 51 points.
The race for Rookie of the Year in 2012 is tighter than the previous two, but Huh has held court just about all season. He was the first to record a top 10 when he tied for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open. Three starts later, he outlasted veteran Robert Allenby in an eight-hole playoff for the win in Mexico. Thanks in part to another two top-fives, Huh has 70 points using my system. H was the only rookie to advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, too.
Blixt has 55 points thanks to his win, two more top-fives and five total top-10s. But he sits fourth using my points system after a 10-week absence for a rib injury. He's been low rookie five times to Huh’s nine.
Now, if you still think that the Huh-Blixt race is too close to call, consider what happened in 2009. None of the 28 rookies won a tournament, but Marc Leishman was the only rookie to compete in the TOUR Championship. He got hot at the right time, posting five low-rookie performances in a six-event stretch, and was eventually crowned Rookie of the Year. However, he finished second to Jeff Klauk by two points in my system. Like Blixt this year, Klauk was bumped from the FedExCup Playoffs after two rounds.
So, while membership decides who will walk away as the 2012 Rookie of the Year, in my opinion Blixt probably needs another victory to clinch it. In fact, if he goes back-to-back and wins The McGladrey Classic, he'd tie the idle Huh at 70 points even with a second title.
I will continue to share my one-and-done and duffer picks in this space through the Fall Series. Here are my picks for The McGladrey Classic:
ONE-AND-DONE: Jeff Overton ... 2012 earnings: $7,714,440.50
DUFFER: Carl Paulson ... 2012 earnings: $612,595.50