We've seen a mix of known and unknowns enter the winner's circle this spring on the PGA Tour. Regardless of where they came from, they are all serious contenders for the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize that goes with it.
Golfers on the PGA Tour's Reshuffle List have a different focus: survival.
The third reshuffle of the 2012 PGA Tour season followed play of Sunday's St. Jude Classic. (For an explanation of the Reshuffle List, go here.) Here's how the the third reshuffle shook out.
1. Matt Every - $1,365,897
2. Ken Duke - $1,155,835
3. Sang-Moon Bae - $967,285
4. Jonas Blixt - $873,798
5. Greg Owen - $827,163
BOTTOM 5 (non-medical)
45. Steve Wheatcroft - $37,785
46. Stephen Gangluff- $37,212
47. Charlie Beljan - $26,413
48. Scott Dunlap - $12,090
50. Kyle Thompson - $0
Jonas Blixt (+22 spots) - Blixt's rise up the list can be attributed to a four-week stretch in which he tied for ninth at the Wells Fargo Championship, third at the Byron Nelson Championship and 10th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. With more than $870,000 in his pocket, Blixt has his PGA Tour card locked up for 2013, which means he can set his sights on not only his first PGA Tour win but also competing for the FedEx Cup. He is 63rd in points entering the U.S. Open. It's time to start looking at Blixt as a fantasy option.
Colt Knost (+9) - Knost shows how just one good finish, regardless of what else you do, can send you surging on the Reshuffle List. He finished third at the RBC Heritage, the second event in the just-completed reshuffle period. His finishes since: MC-T24-MC-MC-MC-MC-MC. Helped by another third-place finish earlier this season, Knost has banked $746,846 in 2012, putting him close to ensuring his 2013 PGA Tour Card (125th on the money list has crossed the $800K threshold just once). Tour card or not, Knost needs to become a more consistent golfer and end his feast-or-famine ways.
Kyle Reifers (+9) - His name is often mispronounced, but there was no mistaking his solid play during the third reshuffle period. In seven events, he made six cuts and finished in the top-50 four times. With a T13 at Colonial, a T25 at Memorial and $334,158 earned, Reifers has put himself in a position where one or two more solid finishes could earn his 2013 card.
Kevin Kisner (+9) - Kisner tied for 13th at the just-completed St. Jude Classic, and coupled with a tie for 36th at the Nelson, he has two much-needed strong finishes in a 2012 campaign that has featured more missed cuts than weekends played. With only $198,857 earned, he has a long way to go to keep his card, but maybe these last two finishes will springboard his season in the right direction.
Ted Potter Jr. (-9) - The reason for Potter's slip is pretty obvious: he played four events in the last reshuffle period and missed the cut in all four. In fact, since a tie for 13th at the first full-field event of the season, the Sony Open, his best finish is a tie for 30th at The Honda Classic. Sprinkle in eight missed cuts over the season's first six months, and you can see why he's falling fast. That T13 helped get him to $176,904, but to keep his tour card he must pick up his play - and fast.
John Mallinger (-8 spots) - Mallinger dropped eight spots (WD, two MC, T24, T47), but he is sitting in fairly good shape overall. He is 10th on the reshuffle list with $623,490 to his name. One or two big finishes and he should be well on his way to keeping his tour card. He's also 72nd in the FedEx Cup points race. Those looking for a fantasy sleeper this summer should consider Mallinger.
Jarrod Lyle (-8) - Lyle has been away from the PGA Tour since the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February as he battles a recurrence of leukemia. The good news is his cancer is in remission, and he had bone marrow transplant about a week ago. He still has a long road to recovery, but we wish him well.
Jeff Maggert (-6) - It might surprise some to see the veteran Maggert on this list but, yes, he had to go to Q-School at last season's end. Fortunately, he finished T13 to get his card back for 2012. While Maggert struggled in the reshuffle period, including four missed cuts, he looked better last week, tying for 27th at the St. Jude Classic. Sitting 12th on the reshuffle list and $503,193 earned, Maggert, like Mallinger, is probably one or two strong finishes from securing his card for next year.
Brendon Todd (-6)
Scott Brown (-6)
Steve Wheatcroft (-6)
GOLFERS IN DANGER
Kyle Thompson - This list usually will not encompass golfers in the Bottom Five, but Thompson has to be noted. Thompson has made nothing this year. Not one penny. That's worse than everyone except those who have failed to play a shot due to medical issues. In 10 starts he has missed nine cuts and withdrew from one event, the Texas Open. The only piece of good news for Thompson: he was one of the last three in the U.S. Open this week. One good week at a high-paying event like the U.S. Open could completely turn around his season.
Danny Lee - Lee, a U.S. Amateur winner, appeared as if he would have no problem adjusting to life on the PGA Tour, especially after a 2011 Nationwide Tour season that saw him notch a win, a second and a third. It hasn't been that way so far, however. His best finish is a T19 at the Nelson, and he has more missed cuts - four - than top-25 finishes - two. Those two top-25s have helped him earn more than $200K, but he will need to piece together a solid string of finishes to get into the Top 125 by year's end and keep his card.
Nathan Green - Many thought Green, a past PGA Tour winner, would play well in 2012 after a trip through Q-school. However, just one top-25 and four missed cuts have dug Green into a hole. With less than $140,000 earned and a 32nd-place ranking on the Reshuffle List, Green will have to use every playing opportunity he gets to his make up the huge money gap to 125 as quickly as possible.
Billy Hurley III - Hurley's story - he served in the Iraq War with the Navy - got him a lot of attention in the offseason after his graduation from the Nationwide Tour. His 2012 PGA Tour season, on the other hand, has disappointed thus far. In 16 events, he has 12 missed cuts, and his best finish is only a tie for 32nd at the Texas Open. One great week can change everything, but at 40th on the Reshuffle List with just $70,488 to his name, Hurley has to do more with drastically fewer playing opportunities in the second half of the FedEx Cup regular season. However, those who play fantasy golf in the Fall Series events should certainly keep track of Hurley as he will probably play in all four events if he is still in the same predicament come October.