TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 27: Kevin Chappell
He’s finally a winner on the PGA TOUR, so how will the next chapter unfold?
December 04, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Presidents Cup profile: Kevin Chappell
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
It is hard to resist a good name pun here as Kevin Chappell was so often the bridesmaid but finally became the bride -- so to speak -- last season.
Although from a financial standpoint, Chappell’s 2015-16 season exceeded last year’s earnings by more than $1.3 million, there is no doubt that the 2016-17 campaign offered a career high for the former UCLA star.
A breakthrough win at the Valero Texas Open came after six career runner-up results and three other third---place finishes. Four of the runner-up efforts came the season prior.
In addition, he surged his way into the U.S. Team for the Presidents Cup, where he was a valued addition in the rout of the Internationals at Liberty National. It was his first national appearance for a U.S. team.
The questions now: Can he continue to rise? Can Chappell meld together the consistency of high finishes from two years ago with a winning season like last year?
The skill is clearly there, particularly in the ball-striking department. If he can create an uptick in his putting to go with it, he could be one we are watching much more often.
There’s a simmering surge of competitiveness always right below the surface for Chappell – often you see some frustration bubbling over as he expects so much from himself.
Now that the win column has been ticked, the nerves around contention are being used in better ways and this grinder could be one name seen on countless Sunday leaderboards.
2017-18 position: T139
Playoff appearances: 7
TOUR Championship appearances: 2
Best result: 8th (2016)
BY THE NUMBERS
INSIGHTS FROM OUR INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Kevin Chappell in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Ben Everill
What’s next for Chappell? Brandon Christianson, coach of the Stanislaus State golf team and a Chappell insider, isn’t worried. As teammates at UCLA, Chappell would drag Christianson out to practice under the lights at The Lakes at El Segundo driving range. “That’s just the type of guy he is,” Christianson says. “He’s always progressing. As we grew up, at different points throughout junior golf, college golf, people would plateau and fall off. Kevin saw that happening and made sure it didn’t happen to him. That’s what’s always what has set Kevin apart is his accountability to himself.”
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
It wasn't long ago when he was reserved as a horse on challenging tracks. Ball-strikers emerge when par is of value, so it surprised no one that he prevailed for the first time at the perennially tricky TPC San Antonio. But that was merely the expected payoff after years of close calls. Today, he's among the keystones of well-balanced rosters because he's a lock for all of the biggest events for a while, he remains as active as ever, having touched 26 starts in six of seven campaigns, and he's maximizing his cuts made with 13 of his 23 career top 10s as a PGA TOUR member in the last two seasons alone. Oh, and that skill set of saving strokes against the field tee to green will take years to rust because of his sneaky length off the tee.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Chappell remains an equipment free agent following Nike's departure from the hard-goods industry in 2016. Continues to play Nike Vapor Pro Combo and MMProto irons. Added a Cobra King wedge during the second half of the season. Put Aldila's X-Torsion Copper and X-Torsion Green shafts in his driver, 3-wood and 5-wood at Akron. Picked up more than 10 yards of carry with the new driver shaft.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Chappell’s modern and sporty looks are great examples of where golf fashion is today. He is a great brand ambassador for Nike as he doesn’t shy away from amping up his kits with bright colors and innovative designs. Expect him to stay on the cutting edge in 2018 with the latest styles and fabric technologies from the Swoosh.