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2012 Champions Tour Rankings: Lehman Leads the List

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

1 . Tom Lehman
2012 Projected Earnings: $2,100,000
2011 Final Rank: 1
2011 Earnings: $2,081,526
Events: 21
2012 Outlook: Lehman is the perfect Champions Tour player, he's still in the prime (of his Champions Tour career ), and he's fully committed to the Champions Tour. Other than another birthday in 2012, there's no reason to think Lehman will slow down this season. If anything, expect an increase with an even greater focus on the Champions Tour.

2 . Mark Calcavecchia
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,900,000
2011 Final Rank: 2
2011 Earnings: $1,867,991
Events: 22
2012 Outlook: No doubt Calcavecchia is completely focused on the Champions Tour now, but for some reason, he can't seem to take his game to the next level. Second-place on the money list isn't bad, but Calcavecchia has the potential to be atop the list if he puts it all together. Unfortunately for Calcavecchia, several others on the tour are playing at or near their best, so he might have to settle for second or third place on the money list again this year.

3 . Kenny Perry
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,700,000
2011 Final Rank: 15
2011 Earnings: $964,851
Events: 10
2012 Outlook: It took a couple years, but it appears as Perry is finally ready to commit to the Champions Tour. He played only 10 events last season, but most of the those came near season's end and he played well in almost all of them. With an increased number of events, expect Perry to be near the top of the money list in 2012.

4 . John Huston
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,700,000
2011 Final Rank: 17
2011 Earnings: $866,290
Events: 14
2012 Outlook: Huston turned 50 in early June last season and wasted no time in making a mark on the Champions Tour as he won his third event played. Considering Huston's numbers last year were based on half a season, expect a huge bump in his numbers this season.

5 . John Cook
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,500,000
2011 Final Rank: 3
2011 Earnings: $1,747,075
Events: 23
2012 Outlook: Cook has really thrived in his time on the Champions Tour. That said, he turns 55 this year and a decline in skills is likely on the horizon. That, coupled with the surge of talented players who have joined the Champions Tour the last couple seasons, will make a another Top-5 finish on the money list unlikely.

6 . Jeff Sluman
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,500,000
2011 Final Rank: 6
2011 Earnings: $1,493,672
Events: 24
2012 Outlook: Sluman was one of the bulldogs on the Champions Tour last season as he played 24 events. He didn't always capitalize on those starts, but with so many opportunities, he was bound to rack up the earnings. The same should be the case this year as Sluman is bound to strike gold a couple times this season if he plays every week.

7 . Peter Senior
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,500,000
2011 Final Rank: 7
2011 Earnings: $1,434,119
Events: 22
2012 Outlook: It's hard to come out of nowhere on the Champions Tour, but that's exactly what Senior did last season. Although he didn't win, he still managed to put up some very solid numbers. There isn't a long history to base any projections on with Senior, but he played well almost the entire season, so one would expect that he continues to play well in 2012.

8 . Jay Don Blake
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,400,000
2011 Final Rank: 4
2011 Earnings: $1,531,877
Events: 20
2012 Outlook: Jay Don Blake had more wins on the Champions Tour last season than he did in his PGA TOUR career. That is not really an indication of a sudden surge in talent, more a comfort level with the Champions Tour. Still, it's hard to imagine an increase in his numbers from last season.

9 . Russ Cochran
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,400,000
2011 Final Rank: 5
2011 Earnings: $1,503,090
Events: 18
2012 Outlook: Cochran was one of the most consistent players on the Champions Tour last season as he earned 11 Top-10s and 16 Top-20 finishes. Cochran also picked up one win, but his upside seems limited. Expect another solid season, but anything higher than fifth on the money list is probably out of the question.

10 . Nick Price
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,200,000
2011 Final Rank: 8
2011 Earnings: $1,300,443
Events: 21
2012 Outlook: Price is still hanging in there, but it looks like his skills are beginning to fade. He played well in 2011, included an early victory at the Toshiba Classic, but he faded a bit toward season's end when he earned only two Top-10s in his final nine events. Expect a slight decline in his numbers in 2012.

11 . Olin Browne
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,200,000
2011 Final Rank: 9
2011 Earnings: $1,251,473
Events: 23
2012 Outlook: Browne got off to a great start in 2011 with five Top-10s in his first five events, but he hit a rough patch that lasted a couple months thereafter. Luckily for Browne, he pulled out of it in late-July and earned a win at the U.S. Senior Open. You simply can't expect another major win for Browne this season, and as such, expect a slight decline in his numbers.

12 . Michael Allen
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,200,000
2011 Final Rank: 11
2011 Earnings: $1,161,306
Events: 19
2012 Outlook: Allen played consistently well in 2011, but he lacked the high-end finishes, which kept him out of the Top 10 on the Champions Tour money list. It didn't help that he still played five times on the PGA TOUR last season. Perhaps a greater focus on the Champions Tour will result in better numbers this season.

13 . Fred Couples
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,200,000
2011 Final Rank: 13
2011 Earnings: $1,042,953
Events: 10
2012 Outlook: Couples only played 10 events last season on the Champions Tour, and until he's committed to a full schedule, a Top-5 finish on the money list is unlikely. He certainly has the talent, but it doesn't appear that he's got the drive to succeed on the Champions Tour yet.

14 . Mark O'Meara
2012 Projected Earnings: $1,100,000
2011 Final Rank: 10
2011 Earnings: $1,237,797
Events: 20
2012 Outlook: O'Meara lacked the high-end finishes last season, but he still managed to finish in the Top 10 on the money list thanks to two runner-up finishes. His better days appear behind him, however, and another finish in the Top 10 on the Champions Tour money list looks unlikely.

15 . Corey Pavin
2012 Projected Earnings: $950,000
2011 Final Rank: 18
2011 Earnings: $848,252
Events: 18
2012 Outlook: Pavin has played well since joining the Champions Tour, but he's yet to find the winner's circle. That should change sometime soon, however, as Pavin still has enough game to compete on the Champions Tour. Expect a slight increase in Pavin's numbers this season.

16 . Jay Haas
2012 Projected Earnings: $900,000
2011 Final Rank: 12
2011 Earnings: $1,067,467
Events: 21
2012 Outlook: Haas picked up his 15th career Champions Tour victory last season at the 3M Championship, but as you can guess it takes many years to earn that many wins and Haas is really getting up there in age. He turned 58 in December, and it's hard to imagine his skills holding up for much longer. Don't expect a large drop, but at least a slight drop is inevitable.

17 . Mark Wiebe
2012 Projected Earnings: $900,000
2011 Final Rank: 16
2011 Earnings: $931,652
Events: 20
2012 Outlook: Wiebe played well early last season but faded toward the end. Wiebe failed to crack the Top 10 in any of his final eight events, which isn't a good sign entering this season. Expect a slight decline in earnings for Wiebe.

18 . David Frost
2012 Projected Earnings: $900,000
2011 Final Rank: 20
2011 Earnings: $802,019
Events: 23
2012 Outlook: Frost didn't play as well as he'd hoped last season, but he finished the 2011 season with a strong showing at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship where he placed sixth. Expect Frost to rebound a bit in 2012 and show a slight improvement on his 2011 numbers.

19 . Tom Watson
2012 Projected Earnings: $750,000
2011 Final Rank: 19
2011 Earnings: $815,675
Events: 12
2012 Outlook: Watson should be considered the next wonder of the world. He simply defies all logic about aging. Conventional wisdom would tell you that he has to slow down sometime soon, but that's exactly what some thought last season and it didn't happen. A slight decline seems reasonable, however.

20 . David Eger
2012 Projected Earnings: $700,000
2011 Final Rank: 14
2011 Earnings: $982,904
Events: 22
2012 Outlook: After a couple of down years, Eger had a very unexpected season in 2011 at age 59. That said, you simply can't expect someone turning 60 in March to keep up this level of production. Expect a decline in Eger's numbers this season, possibly a sharp decline.

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