We are three-quarters of the way through the PGA Tour's Fall Series, and there's already significant movement involving players on the Reshuffle List looking to keep their cards for 2013, and one non-reshuffle star trying to get it back.
Jonas Blixt $2,206,241 - Blixt's solid end to 2012 paid off with his victory at the Frys.com Open. Blixt is the third player - and the third rookie - on the Reshuffle List to graduate this year, joining John Huh and Ted Potter Jr. The win gives Blixt an exemption through 2014, a trip to the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii to start 2013 and a ticket to the PGA Championship. He also joins the exempt category featuring recent winners, which grants entry to nearly every limited-field event you'd want to play. It does not, however, get him a ticket to The Masters (only full-points FedEx Cup events do that), so Blixt will play the final event of the Fall Series - The Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World Nov. 8-11 - to shoot for the top 30 on the final money list, which also comes with a ticket to Augusta National. Blixt is currently 35th.
John Mallinger $1,146,852 - Winning your first PGA Tour event is hard work, with many trials and tribulations along the way. Just look at Rickie Fowler, who nearly won in his first start on Tour but had to wait almost two years to successfully get it done. For Mallinger, who entered last week with a second and six thirds in his career, he was this close to reaching that pinnacle moment. He entered Sunday at the Frys.com Open in the lead, but fell to the Year of the Comeback, shooting a final-round 72 and getting passed by eventual winner Blixt. Mallinger already had his 2013 card clinched but, as mentioned, would have loved to notch that first win and get all the amenities Blixt received with it. He did get something very valuable, however: lessons on how to handle contending on a Sunday on the PGA Tour. For the man who might be the best player never to win a PGA Tour event that no one has heard of, this should help him get that win he so richly deserves even sooner.
Colt Knost $832,151 - Knost, one of the so-called "Reshuffle Seven" who had a chance to clinch their cards during the FedEx Cup Playoffs, surpassed the $800K mark with his tie for 13th at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. (The 125th spot on the money list has only exceeded $800K once.) He can now relax and, if he chooses, be more aggressive and go after a win to finish off 2012 right.
On the Cusp:
Troy Kelly $786,832 - We spoke late last month about how Kelly, another member of the "Reshuffle Seven," was extremely close to locking up his card for 2013. Well, he probably got it done with a T61 in Las Vegas to put his money total for the year at more than $786K. But nothing is assured until the last putt is holed, so Kelly will probably go to Disney to keep his fate in his own hands. Play well, and the card is yours.
Will Claxton $769,720 - In the first three Fall Series events, Claxton's final position has improved each time, a hallmark of solid play: T61-T55-T27. He's 113th on the money list, a precarious position where you are most likely, but not 100 percent, safe.
Jason Kokrak $739,881 - Kokrak, who has seemingly played all of 2012 out of the public eye due to poor play, showed up on a leaderboard a couple weeks back at the Frys.com Open, and played really well. He tied for second, notching his biggest check of the year - $440K - and nearly locking up his place on the PGA Tour for 2013. But at 115th position he'll most likely head to Disney and make sure no one has a chance to pass him.
Billy Hurley III $474,130 - You may remember Hurley as the player who caught fire toward the end of the FedEx Cup regular season after having driver issues at the beginning of the year. However, going back to the RBC Canadian Open in late July, Hurley missed the cut in his next five starts and tied for 57th at The McGladrey Classic two weeks ago to at least get some money back in the bank. But unfortunately for Hurley, he'll need a huge week at Disney to have any chance of keeping his card for 2013.
One to watch:
John Daly $488,505 - Daly may have the most bizarre golfing career of any major champion. And true to form, his quest for his 2012 PGA Tour card was equally eventful. He came to Las Vegas with one top-10 and four top-25s this year on the PGA Tour while splitting his time between here and Europe. He entered the Shriners event in Las Vegas 132nd on the money list and found himself on Saturday in contention with a legitimate shot of clinching his card for 2013. However, he shot an 86(!) in a round that featured a quad, a triple, two double-bogeys, six bogeys and just two birdies. He then followed that with a 77 on Sunday, finishing the tournament in 77th place. To make matters worse, he missed the cut at the Frys.com Open and the McGladrey Classic and did not ask for a sponsor's exemption into The Children's Miracle Network Classic in a last-ditch attempt to keep his card, thus ensuring he will not have a PGA Tour card next year. But that's not the whole story for Daly. Stay tuned to our mid-November article to find out if Daly has a different place to play in 2013.
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