2021-22 PGA TOUR full-membership fantasy rankings
September 10, 2021
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
2021 FedExCup Champion | Patrick Cantlay
Yes! We are back in business!
After the pandemic-inducing pinch between seasons a year ago, the gap between the concurrent conclusions of the FedExCup Playoffs and Korn Ferry Tour Finals last week, and the 2021-22 season-opening Fortinet Championship next week, has granted enough time and space to generate my annual full-membership fantasy ranking.
This has published at PGATOUR.com for a decade, but it’s also a pet project that goes back to the previous century.
As a loyal reader of Baseball Weekly in the ‘90s, nothing beat “The Leviathan.” That was the nickname for the preseason fantasy baseball guide built by John Hunt. His humor alone was appointment reading, while his industry knowledge legitimized every bit of his comprehensive analysis. I had success in rotisserie formats, but when things didn’t go my way during a season – remember, always blame the players – I was smarter as a gamer and as a fan because of Hunt’s work. My experience as a consumer was the manifestation of why I got into sports writing in college with how I envisioned my role should I establish myself with an audience that wanted something similar.
Hunt also created the famed League of Alternative Baseball Reality in 1994, the same year I started playing fantasy golf. In 2009, when I realized that I might be able to blaze a trail in this industry, what he did with the LABR inspired me to assemble nine knowledgeable voices in golf to participate in the Rotoworld One-And-Done Invitational, or ROADI, which I hosted at what was then known as Rotoworld.com. The standard format included Scott Pianowski, whose Yahoo! content preceded my in-house contributions when I was hired here in 2010, and it was a blast. The thirst for the ROADI exceeded even my hopeful expectations.
Hunt, who is enshrined in the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association’s Hall of Fame, also is linked indelibly to the Tuffy Awards. They are distributed ceremoniously to MLBers who go undrafted in fantasy but burst out of the gates on Opening Day. Named after light-hitting Tuffy Rhodes, who hit three home runs off Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets on Opening Day at Wrigley Field in 1994 (coincidentally), I felt an even deeper connection to Hunt’s work, not because that had anything to do with fantasy but because I was at Wrigley that day. Still have the ticket stub.
It could be perceived that attention to fantasy golf today is driven by DFS and betting, neither of which is confused with traditional fantasy where I got started. What’s more, both of those pursuits have been a legal fixture on the landscape for but a fraction of the time that I’ve been playing and contributing to the industry. However, this full-membership fantasy ranking, which is a spiritual descendent of “The Leviathan,” is not geared toward any specific format in particular. It’s just not practical in fantasy golf for which, anecdotally, there are more variations of how to play than for all of the team sports combined. So, consume this as a guide that includes a ranking of draft value. I’ve never nicknamed it, but it mostly definitely is a beast.
While the ranking could be updated every week (read: it won’t be), the content on this opening page is evergreen. It includes all notable announcements, changes and nuggets for whatever format you play.
The 2021-22 PGA TOUR season includes 47 events. It’s down one since the original announcement because of the cancellation of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. The Bermuda Championship, which was to be contested concurrently, now is a stand-alone stop with 132 golfers. It will award the full allocation of FedExCup points (e.g., 500 to the winner), just as it did in 2020.
The Strategic Alliance between the PGA TOUR and the European Tour has yielded the addition of the Genesis Scottish Open as an official PGA TOUR event for which the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points and the customary two-year PGA TOUR membership exemption (through 2023-24).
The Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship also will be co-sanctioned, so both fields will expand to the maximum of 156 of which at least 50 will be European Tour members. Because both tournaments are opposite events, each winner will receive 300 FedExCup points, but a distinction for the membership exemption applies to both. If either winner is a PGA TOUR member, he’ll receive the customary two-year exemption. However, if he’s a non-member of the TOUR, the membership exemption will extend only through 2022-23. Also, top 10s recorded by non-members at Barbasol and Barracuda will not be eligible for the top-10 exemption into the next open. (This aligns with the current provision for top 10s in WGCs.)
The other two opposite events – Puerto Rico Open and Corales Puntacana Championship – will return to reserving space for 120 golfers. That reflects a reduction of 12 in each field.
It previously was announced that the gold medalist at the Olympics will be exempt into the Sentry Tournament of Champions if not already eligible. This means that Xander Schauffele has qualified for the limited field at Kapalua to open the 2022 portion.
Baked into some of the analysis for international talents outside Europe are references to the Presidents Cup, which is scheduled for the last weekend of September in 2022. It’s impossible to get a feel for its influence on any specific golfer until well into the new year, but playing time has been known to increase for those chasing a spot on the team. (Think Danny Lee in 2015.) Fantasy value usually rises as a result.
The 234 golfers in the ranking are representative of most who have status in the Priority Ranking through Ryan Blaum on a Non-exempt Medical Extension. All active members are returning, including 48-year-old Lee Westwood, who sat out five seasons until the super season of 2020-21. The only active member who is omitted is Davis Love III, he of Life Membership at age 57.
Ages, 2020-21 earnings (for salary leaguers) and status for 2021-22 are positioned beside the golfers. Each also has a comment with useful intel, analysis and/or a projection of performance.
For 2020-21 non-members who now are members, earnings include prize money in World Golf Championships, so if you’re a salary leaguer, use what you’ll find in the ranking or on this page to assign accurate value to those golfers. An asterisk beside a 2020-21 salary represents a bargain or a buy in those formats. If a golfer earned $0 last season, he’s annotated with “--“ and no asterisk. It’s assumed that he’ll earn greater than $0, so valuate him on his position in the ranking and what’s mentioned in the comment.
References to 2020-21 FedExCup position in the status column are specified because the series of invitationals during the 2021-22 season automatically invite the top-X from the previous season’s FedExCup. The top 30 basically can play whenever they want, but opportunities are directly proportional with ranking. In part, it’s why it’s easier to stay on the PGA TOUR than it is to get to the PGA TOUR.
STATUS … BERTHS
• Top 125 in 2020-21 FedExCup … Projects entry into every open and the following invitationals: The American Express, The Genesis Invitational, THE PLAYERS, RBC Heritage.
• Top 80 … Top 125 exemptions plus entry into the Charles Schwab Challenge.
• Top 70 … Top 80 exemptions plus entry into the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard and Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.
• Top 60 … Top 70 exemptions plus entry into the THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT and ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, 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 and the PGA Championship.
Golfers who finished outside the top 125 in the 2020-21 FedExCup but still have fully exempt status via a victory no more recent than during the 2019-20 season are labeled as “Multi-year.”
Because some ownership philosophies favor long-term success, Korn Ferry Tour graduates are segregated into two groups. Those who finished inside the top 25 in KFT points during the 43-event regular season are annotated with “KFT.” The 25 who earned cards at the three-event Finals are annotated with “KFT Finals.”
In addition to 27 rookies, there are four first-time members who exhausted rookie eligibility in a previous season: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (2019-20), Lucas Herbert (2020-21), Kurt Kitayama (2019-20) and Will Zalatoris (2020-21).
Because entry into premier events often cuts off at No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, I always include all non-members inside that bubble, but for the first time in memory at this checkpoint, all 50 are members.
For leagues that allow for midseason drop-adds, it’s important for you to know that the target for Special Temporary Membership for non-members in 2021-22 is the equivalent of 287.137 FedExCup points. That represents what Satoshi Kodaira totaled at No. 150 in the 2020-21 FedExCup standings.
My weekly contributions will continue and I’ll be defending my 2020-21 title in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, but the home game on this website is getting a makeover. I shared what I could about it in the Fantasy Insider during the week of the Olympics, but I’ll have more on it in the FI for the Fortinet Championship.
Have fun, listen and learn, and remain fluid. In fantasy, in reality.
Good luck and thanks for reading!