There are 21 rookies on the PGA TOUR in 2018-19. This page provides a subjective ranking updated weekly. The Rookie of the Year is voted by PGA TOUR members who make at least 15 starts.
There he is again: Cameron Champ doing work.
Of the 20 rookies in the field at The RSM Classic, only eight survived the cut and Champ set the pace once again, this time with a sixth-place finish, his third top 10 of the young season.
He’s reminding us of Tony Finau, but only because they share the bonus of being able to send the ball out of sight. Instead, and in fact, Champ is excelling everywhere, just as his veteran comparison has illustrated with an exponentially greater sample size of sites and over time.
After Champ broke through at the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson, a course where attacking on approach is Priority A, the 23-year-old placed T10 at Mayakoba where ball-striking and men of a certain age have thrived.
Last week at Sea Island, he finished just T31 in distance of all drives (measured during three rounds on Seaside only) and T22 in greens hit, but he led the field in putts per GIR and finished fourth in converting GIR into par breakers.
Finau, who went 22-for-31 with five top 10s (but zero top fives) as a rookie in 2014-15, presents similarly as a home-run hitter, but he’s the complete package. His game travels arguably better than any other one-time winner on the PGA TOUR, but you already can put Champ on that short list.
The only rookie who sat out the 156-man contest in the Golden Isles was Cameron Davis. Opting to defend his title at the Emirates Australian Open in his homeland, he finished T40.
Since the first edition of the wraparound season in 2013-14, seven rookies have won a tournament in the fall, six of whom entered the holidays inside the top 10 of the FedExCup standings. After winning last year’s RSM Classic, Austin Cook ranked third, best of the bunch. Champ sits sixth right now. Mackenzie Hughes (fourth in 2015-16) and Smylie Kaufman (fifth in 2014-15) also have slotted higher at this point.
While Champ didn’t set a new mark compared to rookies early in previous seasons, to further accentuate his success against the current class, Sungjae Im is the only other rookie with at least one low-rookie performance, and he has three. Yet, the 20-year-old has only two top-35 finishes.
NOTE: Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions is up next on the schedule, this page likely won’t be updated again until its field is released on Friday, Dec. 28.
LOW ROOKIE: Cameron Champ, 6th. Third time. (Previous: Win=Sanderson Farms; T10=Mayakoba.)
CAREER-BEST FINISHES (AND TIES): Chase Wright (T7), Kyle Jones (T23), Hank Lebioda (T32).
* - Qualified for the Sentry Tournament of Champions (Jan. 3-6).
Through The RSM Classic
Rank Name FedExCup Rank Best Finish Starts Cuts Made Top 10s 1 *Cameron Champ 6 Win 5 5 3 2 Sungjae Im 34 T4 6 4 1 3 Chase Wright 44 T7 5 3 2 4 Anders Albertson 50 T5 5 4 1 5 Seth Reeves 93 T7 5 5 1 6 Jim Knous 100 T10 3 1 1 7 Cameron Davis 91 T17 4 3 - 8 Kramer Hickok 106 T23 5 2 - 9 Kyle Jones 134 T23 5 3 - 10 K.H. Lee 133 T29 6 3 - 11 Wyndham Clark 141 T33 5 4 - 12 Adam Svensson 158 T39 5 2 - 13 José de Jesús Rodríguez 163 T41 5 3 - 14 Hank Lebioda 156 T32 3 1 - T15 Brady Schnell T187 T45 3 1 - T15 Chris Thompson T187 T45 3 1 - T15 John Chin T187 T45 5 1 - 18 Sepp Straka 181 T46 3 1 - 19 Martin Trainer T195 T60 5 1 - 20 Adam Long 200 T63 3 1 - 21 Joey Garber n /a MC 3 - -
NOTE: 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 - Nonmember, 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 (7) Official PGA TOUR Money events as a professional in any prior season.