Welcome to the 2013 season premiere of the Reshuffle List.
• The Reshuffle List is a PGA Tour exemption category that contains players who finished in the Top 25 of the 2012 Web.com Tour money list and in the Top 25 at the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School.
• The Reshuffle List sets the priority for which of these golfers play in PGA Tour events. Five times during the season the players get "reshuffled" (thus the name) according to their earnings. The better a golfer plays, the higher on the list he'll rank, and the more events he can enter. Likewise, golfers who play poorly move down the list.
Now, every Reshuffle on the PGA Tour is crucial - but this one, the first of 2013, that comes after the conclusion of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in late February is very important. It's so important that CBS Sports' Peter Kostis recently called it the biggest in recent memory. The reason is a fast start is imperative in 2013. This season is shorter with no fall events available after the FedEx Cup playoffs to save a player's card. If a player gets buried on the Reshuffle List, and thus gets fewer events to enter, retaining his tour card will be harder than ever.
The PGA Tour at Pebble Beach this week, we're a little past halfway through the first Reshuffle period. Let's look at some golfers who have started fast, and others who have gotten off to especially slow starts.
(The (+/-) number represents how many spots the player would gain or lose if the reshuffle occurred today.)
GRADUATED OFF THE LIST
Russell Henley - Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks, Jim Nantz. Whether you love them or hate them as announcers, most golf fans would agree they are three prominent and knowledgeable minds in golf. So when they follow a dominating win like Henley had at the Sony Open in Hawaii by declaring this rookie a potential star in the making (Miller), his putting one of the best putting displays ever seen (Hicks) and that Henley's his "young guy to watch" in 2013 (Nantz on WFAN), the golf world should take notice. Henley birdied the last five holes that Sunday en route to a final-round 63 that cemented his place as one of the early studs of the 2013 PGA Tour season. He is now exempt through 2015 and has a spot in The Masters and a multitude of high-profile events, but most of all, he knows he belongs with the big boys - a big confidence boost for a rookie.
Scott Langley, $324,800, +27 - Henley's playing companion for most of the Sony has also started strong this year, making a gigantic leap up the Reshuffle List from his starting spot of 32nd. The rookie followed his T3 in the second event of the year with two missed cuts, but, in this unique, truncated season, one or two strong finishes may be all it takes to clinch your card for next season. It's worth noting that both the Top 125 in FedEx Cup points AND money will keep their cards for next season.
Brian Stuard, $353,543, +33 - The man who finished tied for fifth at the Sony backed up his performance with a T10 at the Humana Challenge and a T39 at the Farmers Insurance Open, making for an excellent start to the season, especially considering he began it in 35th position on the Reshuffle Lis.
Nicholas Thompson, $274,668, +32, - The lesser-known member of the Thompson family (his sister is LPGA star Lexi Thompson), Thompson has made some nice headlines for himself early in 2013, with his big jump on the Reshuffle List due to a T6 at the Humana Challenge sandwiched around a T41 at the Sony and a T21 at Torrey Pines. For a guy who started three spots below Stuard, it's a strong start that should help him get into more events in the Florida swing in March.
D.H. Lee (-22), Luke Guthrie (-12), Ross Fisher (-13), Steve LeBrun (-37), Luke List (-22) - These golfers represent five of the top six on the Reshuffle List on Jan. 1. With the exception of Henley, who started the year fourth and has graduated, the golfers who began 2013 in the best position have lost a combined 106 spots on the list through the Tour's first five weeks. Why the sudden drop?
Well for starters, the golfer who occupied the No. 1 slot, D. H. Lee, has only made $35,060 even though he's made three of four cuts, which means he hasn't finished well. His best result is a tie for 49th, and he's fallen 22 spots on the list.
The next two gentlemen, Luke Guthrie and Ross Fisher, each have one top-25 yet still have fallen 12 and 13 spots, respectively. They're followed Steve LeBrun who has begun his 2013 MC-MC-T84-MC. If the Reshuffle happened today he'd drop 37 spots, and in a shortened year with, on the surface, fewer playing opportunities for Reshuffle List members, that could cost him his card if his play doesn't pick up fast.
And finally we have the long-hitting Luke List, who would drop 22 places if the Reshuffle occurred today. His problem so far? Two missed cuts and no finish better than a T65. Also not helping his cause is that he's 161st in driving accuracy and 155th in greens in regulation. Being a long hitter usually means you'll miss more fairways than most, but if you can't get it on the green then it's hard to shoot the score it takes to make cuts in these early season, birdie-filled West Coast events. Fantasy owners should wait to start List until he works out his issues.
GOLFERS TO WATCH
Billy Horschel, $298,367, +1 - While not a flashy increase in List position for Horschel (he began sixth), financially speaking he has started well, as he's probably halfway to earning his card for 2013-14. That quest has been aided by a T10 at Humana and a T11 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. In addition, he's sixth on the PGA Tour in total driving (the combination of distance and accuracy), which is sure to put him in position for numerous chances at birdies and eagles. Fantasy owners, especially those who may have started List in previous events, might want to give Horschel a look.
Brad Fritsch, $184,200, +6 - Like Horschel, Fritsch hasn't done anything flashy so far, but he did pick up a nice chunk of change by virtue of his tie for ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open. So far so good for the gentleman who went to Q School to improve his Reshuffle List spot, did just that (he began 2013 in 13th) and has now started his climb toward the top.
Jeff Gove, Paul Haley II, $0 - There are others like them on the Reshuffle List but we highlight the two because they are the highest-ranked players (19th and 20th, respectively) who have begun their season with all missed cuts (three each, coincidentally), and thus have their probabilities of playing a high number of events slipping faster by the minute.
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