Enough about Rookie of the Year. Will Zalatoris very well might wind up as part of the conversation for Player of the Year as well.
With his slice of an eight-way tie for 10th place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Zalatoris recorded his fifth top 10 of the season. That shares the PGA TOUR lead with Harris English, Tony Finau, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele, and only English has a victory (Sentry Tournament of Champions).
Then again, and at the minimum, it’d require a breakthrough title for Zalatoris to generate sincere consideration. Bryson DeChambeau prevailed at Bay Hill to become this season’s first multiple winner, and, of course, his first win was at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
A first-time winner at THE PLAYERS Championship isn’t unprecedented, but it’s been 11 years since Tim Clark was the last to connect. Zalatoris will give it a go in his debut and what will be his seventh consecutive start since the Farmers Insurance Open.
Victor Perez and Robert MacIntyre also will be competing at TPC Sawgrass. After opening the API with a 3-under 69, Perez drifted all the way back to finish T68. Meanwhile, MacIntyre placed T36 in what was his third start of the 2020-21 season. With the equivalent of 19.267 FedExCup points at Bay Hill contributing to his non-member total, the lefty has been added to the table below. Both Europeans are on pace to exhaust their rookie eligibility this season.
Rafael Campos (only true 2020-21 PGA TOUR rookie)
Starts = 9
Cuts Made = 2
FedExCup Points = 98.757
FedExCup Rank = 152
Last Start = T3 (Puerto Rico Open)
# - In the field at THE PLAYERS Championship as of March 7.
^ - The value beside Will Zalatoris reflects where he would rank among members with his total of equivalent FedExCup points. If he's inside the top 125 at the conclusion of the Wyndham Championship, he'll earn PGA TOUR membership in 2021-22. He can become a member this season with a victory on the PGA TOUR or with two more wins on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Non-members: Through the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Name Equivalent FedExCup Points Points Needed for STM*
Sponsor Exemptions Remaining
#^Will Zalatoris  639.274 0 T10 T5 12 unlimited Justin Suh 155.133 132.902 - T8 5 3 Akshay Bhatia 102.007 186.028 - T9 5 4 Thomas Detry 62.063 225.972 - T28 3 6 MJ Daffue 60.800 227.235 - T12 4 6 Joohyung (Tom) Kim 55.957 232.078 - T15 5 3 Aaron Rai 51.183 236.852 - T18 1 7 Sahith Theegala 49.000 239.035 - T14 2 5 Brandon Wu 47.500 240.535 - T7 2 7 Taylor Pendrith 42.459 245.576 - T23 2 7 Lee Hodges 31.750 256.285 - T13 1 7 Lucas Herbert 31.733 256.302 - T31 2 7 #Robert MacIntyre 30.940 257.095 T36 T36 3 7 #Victor Perez 22.724 265.311 T68 T46 4 7 Rasmus Højgaard 22.080 265.955 - T37 3 6 Shugo Imahira 22.074 265.961 - T44 3 7 Davis Riley 12.964 275.071 - T39 5 4 Takumi Kanaya 12.583 275.452 - T41 2 6 David Lipsky 9.917 278.118 - T48 1 7 Andy Ogletree 9.250 278.785 - T46 3 4 Matthias Schwab 5.400 282.635 - T56 3 5
* - Because the 2019-20 season was contracted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this season's target for Special Temporary Membership is 288.035 FedExCup points. It's what Martin Kaymer totaled en route to ranking 150th in the FedExCup during the 2018-19 season. Non-members who achieve STM receive numerous benefits, three of which are primary as it concerns opportunities to compete on the PGA TOUR: 1) Unlimited sponsor exemptions; 2) Unlimited starts; 3) Position in the Beyond 150 Reshuffle. However, a non-member who achieves STM remains ineligible for the FedExCup Playoffs unless he wins a tournament.
NOTE: The Player Advisory Council and the Player Directors nominate annually a list of first-season PGA TOUR members for the PGA TOUR members for the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. A player’s rookie season (“Rookie Year”) is defined as the season in which he becomes a PGA TOUR member (including Special Temporary Members) and plays in 10 or more events as a member or finishes in the Top 125 on the official FedExCup points list or qualifies as a Top 125 non-member, whichever occurs first. Further, for purposes of this definition, a new member (including Special Temporary Members) shall not be eligible to be a rookie if he has previously played in more than seven official PGA TOUR money events as a professional in any prior season. PGA TOUR members who have played in at least 15 official money tournaments vote on this award. The Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Olympic Games each count as one the 15. In their discretion, the Player Advisory Council and Player Directors may determine that circumstances (the potential lack of nominees due to the absence of 2020 graduating class from the Korn Ferry Tour) may not warrant the selection of an award recipient in the 2020-21 season.