Top 20 to watch into 2020 ... Nos. 1-10
December 26, 2019
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- December 26, 2019
- Jerry Kelly is No. 1 on the players to watch into 2020. (Getty Images)
There’s an old adage, of course, that says hindsight is 2020.
Well, here’s some foresight for 2020: The top 20 players on PGA TOUR Champions for the coming year. It has a little bit of everything – the stalwarts, the rookies, a couple of players on the rise.
There are some very good players not on this list who surely will wind up there by year’s end. That’s just the nature of golf and making predictions.
Herewith, 20 for ’20:
If you missed Nos. 11-20, click here.
10. Kirk Triplett
Recapping his 2019: Two victories and four runner-up finishes? Triplett just seems more comfortable and confident on the north side of 55 than he ever has in his career. If he had flipped just one of those seconds into a third win he’d have been a threat to win the Schwab Cup.
2020 vision: Triplett isn’t churning out top 25s every week, but he knows how to win. He’ll find a way to get in the hunt a handful of times and close one of them.
9. Ernie Els
Recapping his 2019: Els played a full schedule on the PGA TOUR, playing in 18 events and making nine cuts. His best finish was a T20 at The Honda Classic.
2020 vision: The word is the South Afican, fresh off a successful captaincy of the International Team at the Presidents Cup, will play a full schedule on PGA TOUR Champions. If that holds true, he’s the easy favorite for rookie of the year and should break through for a victory or two.
8. Steve Stricker
Recapping his 2019: Stricker limited his schedule to only nine events. Still, he won twice and had four other top-10 finishes.
2020 vision: If we knew the Wisconsin native was going to play 12-14 events, he’d be much higher on this list. As it stands today, he probably will play even less than he did in ’19 given his duties as U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
7. Miguel Angel Jimenez
Recapping his 2019: The Spaniard won twice and was at his best during the Schwab Cup playoffs. He won the playoff opener, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, before finishing T5 at the Invesco QQQ Championship and T4 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
2020 vision: “The Mechanic” is a streaky player with a lot of game. When he’s right like he was during the playoffs, look out.
6. Bernhard Langer
Recapping his 2019: The German finished fourth in the final Schwab Cup standings and continues to thumb his nose at Father Time. He won twice, including a major, and he added two seconds and a third.
2020 vision: The guy has won at least once on PGA TOUR Champions every year since 2007. So yeah, he’ll figure out a way to add at least one more.
5. David Toms
Recapping his 2019: Toms counted three seconds and two thirds among his nine top-10 finishes, but he was not able to crack into the win column.
2020 vision: Toms was in the mix a handful of times. He finished seventh in GIR and second in putting average. That’s a recipe to win, and he will again in 2020.
4. Scott Parel
Recapping his 2019: Parel had 10 top-10 finishes, including three seconds. He didn’t manage to post a victory after winning twice in 2018, but that’s really more fluke than anything. He ranked ninth in driving distance, ninth in GIR and sixth in putting average. In 26 events he never finished outside the top 40.
2020 vision: Look at those stats in the above graph. If he plays like that again put him down for at least two wins.
3. Scott McCarron
Recapping his 2019: McCarron made no secret of his desire to win the Schwab Cup and he finally did it, thanks to his stellar early season play and Jeff Maggert’s improbable eagle in a playoff against Retief Goosen to win the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Had Maggert not won the playoff, Goosen would have wrested the cup from McCarron as a rookie. As it was, McCarron won three times in 2019 and posted 14 top 10s.
2020 vision: The ever-competitive California native has won at least twice in each of the past four years, and he will remain a force. But his game wasn’t as sharp down the stretch in 2019; he didn’t win after the calendar hit July and had as many finishes of 40th and below (two) as he did top 10s over his final nine events.
2. Retief Goosen
Recapping his 2019: Goosen nearly stole the Schwab Cup from McCarron and Jerry Kelly. It would have been his had he won the playoff against Maggert at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. As it was, Goosen posted one win in his rookie year and it was a major, the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Perhaps not surprisingly the South African was at his best in the majors, also posting a T3 at The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex and a solo fourth at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
2020 vision: With a year of course and travel familiarity on PGA TOUR Champions under his belt, he should be a serious threat to win the Schwab Cup.
1. Jerry Kelly
Recapping his 2019: The Wisconsin native won three times, including the American Family Insurance Championship in his native Wisconsin. He made a strong surge to narrowly lose the Schwab Cup to McCarron. He also won more money per tournament than McCarron.
2020 vision: Kelly battled some injury problems early in 2019 but closed strong. He has six wins in 67 starts on PGA TOUR Champions. If he can stay healthy this could be his year to hoist the Schwab Cup.