2018-19 PGA TOUR full-membership fantasy rankings
September 28, 2018
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Rose's Round 4 highlights from TOUR Championship
With the format of the wraparound season entering its sixth edition this fall, the jokes about the offseason are tired. We all get it – there isn't one. In fact, after last year's less-than-zero days in between, I'm thankful that there was a week off after both the TOUR Championship and Web.com Tour Championship. That's allowed this annual project proper time to breathe.
Whether next year will present a similar (or longer) time frame to reset remains to be seen. However, you already know that the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season will conclude in August with only three FedExCup Playoffs events. Not only is this ranking intended to launch you into it, but it's also a follow-up to my Fantasy Season Preview that published in July. Due to that timing, it lacked a few details of value in our world, but those blanks are filled below, so it's still worth your time to revisit it.
As for this "ranking," it's more of a guide. Originally inspired by John Hunt's "Leviathan" in the old Baseball Weekly, this is our monster.
What this isn't is a Power Rankings. Channel your criticism into your own draft prep. That's where it belongs. What's more, it's possible that others in your little league also are reading and might buy or sell based on this guide. Read the comments for insight, analysis and opinion. Thanks to the week off, they returned this year.
Almost active golfers in the 2018-19 Priority Ranking through Non-exempt Medical Extensions appear. Only Life Members Davis Love III and Vijay Singh as well as PGA Professional National champion Ryan Vermeer (allowed six restricted starts) are excluded.
Critical nuggets about golfers included:
• Both Joaquin Niemann and Kiradech Aphibarnrat accepted membership.
• Danny Willett renewed membership.
• Martin Kaymer missed time in 2017-18 due to injury, so his application for fully exempt status was approved.
• There are only three non-members in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of Sept. 23: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Thorbjørn Olesen and Eddie Pepperell.
Relevant modifications to TOUR provisions not covered my in fantasy season preview are as follows:
• Golfers who have made at least 300 career cuts and played in at least 15 events in the most recent season can burn a one-time exemption. It acts like a career earnings exemption except that the category slots between the Web.com Tour graduates and medical extensions in the same category. Golfers using this exemption are included in the reshuffle but cannot accept sponsor exemptions reserved for others in the category. J.J. Henry is the first and only golfer to use the new exemption. He's survived 327 career cuts and made 28 starts in 2017-18. (Note: If a golfer later climbs inside the top 50 in career earnings, he is not eligible for that career earnings exemption. Although unlikely to be earned thereafter, the top-25 career earnings exemption would remain available if not previously burned.)
• FedExCup champions currently receive a five-year TOUR exemption for status. Beginning with the 2019 FedExCup champion, the multi-year exemption will apply just as it does for multiple wins. Example: If Tony Finau wins the FedExCup, he'd be fully exempt through the 2023-24 season. Then, in 2019-20, if he wins any non-major (that would automatically extend his status five seasons past the current), his multi-year exemption would extend to 2024-25, which is the maximum five years allowed for all members regardless of total wins and other achievements.
• Winners of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide before 1997 and winners of both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and RBC Heritage before 2000 will be added to the field if they commit. This aligns with the current qualifying criterion of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, the scoring system has undergone an overhaul. There is a greater emphasis on hole-by-hole scoring and round scoring. ShotLink data will still be used for long drives, hole-outs and long putts converted. Stay tuned for more as the game turns over for the new season. Bookmark FantasyGolf.PGATOUR.com if you already haven't.
Both One & Done games will be returning as will the prizes. Existing leagues will be renewed automatically.
Without further ado, let's get to the golfers!
When you scroll through the pages, you'll see five columns. "2017-18 EARNINGS" is geared toward salary gamers. Asterisks beside 2017-18 earnings indicate a projection that the golfer will earn measurably more in 2018-19. (Although there are scheduled to be 48 tournament champions, wins are not assumed for any golfer.) It would be redundant to tag "--" with an asterisk, so rely on overall ranking and the COMMENT for projected value. Salaries for previous non-members including earnings in World Golf Championships. Refer to the far-right column here.
Included again in this year's guide is STATUS in the conjoined COMMENT column. Because reaching the PGA TOUR is more difficult than retaining position, long-range value is easier to project than during any given tournament. However, within the hierarchy of membership are subsets that improve one's opportunity keep his job. So, while finishing inside the top 125 of the FedExCup standings is one goal, exemptions into invitationals with smaller fields – thus a greater likelihood to succeed – are awarded the higher one finishes.
STATUS … BERTHS
• Top 125 in FedExCup points in 2017-18 … Projects entry into every open and the following the invitationals: CareerBuilder Challenge, RBC Heritage, THE PLAYERS.
• Top 80 … Top 125 exemptions plus entry into the Charles Schwab Challenge.
• Top 70 … Top 80 exemptions plus entry into the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
• Top 60 … Top 70 exemptions plus entry into the CIMB Classic and THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, both of which will make room for the top 60 available.
• Top 30 … Exemptions into every tournament before the Playoffs except the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions, the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, the PGA Championship and the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
As a complement, click on the Cheat Sheet. It's a one-page printable visual to assist you in your draft.
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Have fun, listen and learn, and remain fluid!