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Golf Draft Kit: 2013-14 Sleepers & Busts

Jeremy Schilling

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

DECEMBER UPDATE: Outlooks were updated to include results from the fall schedule.

SLEEPERS

Roberto Castro -
Castro has had an exceptionally strong second half of 2013, with a T2 at the AT&T National, T6 at the RBC Canadian Open and T9 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He also ranks well statistically, as he's 20th in driving accuracy, third in par-5 performance, 20th in proximity to the hole from the rough and 25th in the FedEx Cup Playoffs points standings through the first two events. After a rough 2012 that saw him nab just one top-10 and miss eight cuts, Castro is on the rise and a player to watch in 2013-2014.

Fall Update: Castro made one fall start and tied for 35th at the CIMB Classic.

Kevin Foley -
Full disclosure: this writer played against Foley in junior tournaments and was immediately impressed by his complete game. That showed this year on the Web.com Tour as he won the season-opening event and finished 24th on the money list to earn his PGA Tour card for 2013-2014. He was 24th on that tour in driving distance, 15th in the par-5 birdie or better leaders, 14th in eagles, and 50th in total driving. Watch for Foley to make waves on the PGA Tour in 2013-14.

Fall Update: Foley is stuck at the bottom of the Reshuffle List and, partly due to how the new system played out, failed to get a start in the fall portion of the schedule. Entering January, he's probably only going to get one or two starts before the first reshuffle of the calendar year. As a result, and by no fault of his own besides poor play in the Web.com Tour Finals, he probably deserves to be listed as a bust rather than a sleeper.

Josh Teater -
Teater has seemed like he's been on the brink of his first PGA Tour win for a while now but just hasn't broken through. He pulled off a rare double this year, going through 36-hole qualifying to get into both the U.S. and Open Championships, earning medalist honors in the latter. He has a T2 this year at the Farmers Insurance Open with two other top-10s and three other top-25s. In addition, he makes a lot of birdies, ranking 25th in that category on the season. His drives have the third longest hangtime on tour at 6.8 seconds. Look for Teater to breakthrough into the winner's circle soon. He's overdue.

Fall Update: Teater made the cut in all four of his fall starts, nabbing finishes of T51-70-T53-T23.

Andrew Svoboda -
Svoboda was not having a good year ... until he made a very smart decision. Struggling on the PGA Tour - 18 starts and just five made cuts - he went back to the Web.com Tour and won the Price Cutter Charity Championship Presented by Dr Pepper. The win got him into the Top 25 on the Web.com Tour's final money list for the regular season and clinched a return ticket to the big show by just $1,200 and change. He followed that with a victory in the second event of the The Finals, the Chiquita Classic, pocketing another $180,000. Buoyed by newfound confidence, watch out for Svoboda to turn some heads in 2013-14.

Fall Update: Svoboda only made one of four possible cuts during the fall schedule. He sits 21st on the Reshuffle List, but his one finish in the money was a T15. Look for him to come out aggressive to start 2014.

James Hahn -
Hahn is known more for his dance moves - his Gangnam Style in Phoenix earlier this year went viral - than his golf, but one should not overlook that aspect of his various talents. He had an extremely strong start to the season, finishing T4 at the Humana Challenge and T3 at Pebble Beach before missing the cut 13 times over the season's final five months. However, the strong start was good enough to lock up his card by a large margin, and we think his year of experience on the big circuit will lead to big things in 2013-2014.

Fall Update: Hahn had an indifferent fall, making one cut in three starts. Having full status, however, means he'll get a full allotment of starts and shouldn't be slowed by the poor fall performance.

Additional, Post-Fall Sleepers

Harris English -
English won the final event of the 2013 portion of the wraparound schedule - the OHL Classic at Mayakoba - and seems destined to contend in elite events in 2014.

Hideki Matsuyama -
Matsuyama used a strong run through the 2013 majors - three finishes in the top-20 - to earn his PGA Tour card. He began his season with a T3 at the Frys.com Open and a T25 in Malaysia.

BUSTS

Nick Watney -
Nothing against Watney or his talents, but he's in the midst of a swing change - he just switched coaches to Todd Anderson - and it usually takes players a year or two until they get back to strong form. Watney has been an interesting case in hot or cold. He boasts five(!) career wins, and yet hasn't won a major and is very inconsistent at times, averaging several missed cuts per season. After winning The Barclays at Bethpage Black last August some thought he had turned a corner, but 2013 was a struggle, with just three top-10s and seven missed cuts. Watney has all the talent in the world, but fantasy owners may want to wait until the swing changes take hold.

Fall Update: Watney went 3-for-3 in fall with all finishes in the top-50. If he can master those swing changes quickly, Watney could move from bust to sleeper.

Luke Donald -
Donald is in a similar position as Watney. Donald hired Chuck Cook, Jason Dufner's teacher, to help his ball-striking. While he's always had a strong short game, Donald was 161st in ball-striking (as of Sept. 6). Donald is always going to be good enough to get solid finishes - he has a third and a fourth this season - but improving his tee to green play is required to get him to the next step. As a result, 2013-2014 could be shaky and fantasy owners may want to avoid Donald.

Fall Update: Donald tied for 31st at the HSBC Champions, his only PGA Tour fall start.

Gary Woodland -
Woodland has a world of talent and can hit the ball a mile and a half. But injuries and poor play have beset him the last couple years, and it took him until this year's Reno-Tahoe Open to validate his victory in Tampa from a couple years ago. Fantasy owners need consistency and Woodland isn't the perfect representation of that. He has just one other top-10 to go with his win, and in 2012 had just one top-10 finish the whole year. For fantasy owners who like to take risks Woodland is a strong pick, but those that strive for consistency may want to steer clear.

Fall Update: Woodland lost in a playoff at the CIMB Classic, carrying over his strong play from late summer. But as mentioned above, consistency will be the name of the game for him, and that won't be known until the calendar turns to 2014.

David Lingmerth -
Lingmerth came on the scene strong in 2013 and nearly won The Players before finishing tying for second. And that performance followed a loss in a playoff in his second event of the season at the Humana Challenge in late January. So why do we have him as a bust? Well, the sophomore slump is a real thing, and it can be hard for rookies to come on the scene strong to back that up in the second year with the increased expectations. So while we're not saying that Lingmerth will have an awful 2013-2014, the chances of him repeating what he did this year are less than some may think.

Fall Update: Lingmerth made one of three possible fall cuts, finishing in an uninspiring tie for 64th in Malaysia.
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