Believe it or not, we are halfway through the first reshuffle period of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. By the time the fall season ends - at the conclusion of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in three weeks - a lot of players will have had their west coast schedule already decided, and not all by their own volition.
New Season, New Rules, New Problems
As we wrote a couple weeks ago, the PGA Tour's new qualifying system - specifically using the four Web.com Tour Finals events to determine Reshuffle List position - already put some players who earned their Tour cards through the regular season Web.com Tour money list in a deep hole.
It was only made worse by something that was no fault of their own.
It's unknown exactly why - it might be field sizes (132 players versus 144 like some players would have preferred), the enticement of FedEx Cup points or The Masters invitation looming for the winners - but the fields for the first two PGA Tour events that make up the new wrap-around schedule have been stronger than the PGA Tour probably anticipated.
The impact on Reshuffle List players has been stark - 20 of the 50 names on the list were in the Monday Qualifier just trying to get into the Shriners Hospitals for Children event in Las Vegas (with usually about four spots available), and more than half have yet to cash a check this season.
So with that in mind, here are the biggest gainers and losers through the first three events in 2013, with the gain/loss numbers judged by if the next reshuffle happened today. By the way, as of the 2013-14 season, the Reshuffle List is now listed in FedEx Cup points, not money. Also, most Reshuffle List players will only be able to make four starts this fall, with last week's CIMB Classic and this week's HSBC Champions filled by more exclusive fields. However some players, like Ryo Ishikawa, will, through other qualifying means, get a start in one of those two events.
Kevin Tway, +24, 28.5 points - In the oddities of this new system, one finish merely in the money - a T40 at the Frys.com Open - was good enough to have the biggest jump at the halfway mark. Part of that is because of where he started, in 44th place out of 48 non-medical names on the list, and the fact that so many ahead of him have either failed to make a start or failed to make a cut. He only got into the Frys because of a sponsor's exemption, and as he said in the article linked above, he's going to need some more luck to have a good year on Tour. That starts with making a couple more starts to improve his chances of gaining entry into a consistent number of events.
Ricky Barnes, +23, 87.5 points - Barnes finished T33-T15 at the Frys.com Open and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, respectively, which helped him get off to a nice start in the new season. He would go from 31st to eighth if the reshuffle happened today, and that would mean more starts for someone who was on the wrong side of the draw when the wrap-around season began. Throwing stats out for these guys is an iffy proposition considering not everyone has played so far, but he is 20th in scoring average at 69.657 in the early going.
Billy Hurley III, +18, 96 points - Hurley struggled in his previous trip to the PGA Tour but got his card back for this season and started the year off right with four rounds in the 60s and a T9 at the Frys.com Open. He backed that up with a tie for 48th in Las Vegas. If the reshuffle happened today Hurley would find himself in sixth, and with a lot more starts to start 2014.
Jim Herman, +16, 54 points - Herman came up big when it mattered, getting a solid finish in the third Web.com Tour Finals event to seal his PGA Tour card for this season. However, he has a T26-T57 start under his belt and now would sit 10th if the reshuffle happened today.
Scott Gardiner, -22, 0 points; Edward Loar, -22, 0 points - These two are the tale of the missed cuts, as in their four combined starts they have just two total rounds in the 60s. They happened to be next to each other on the season-opening list - fifth and sixth - so their plight will be banded together until one gets his season back on track. The good news is that they should get into the final two events of the fall - The McGladrey Classic and Mayakoba - to try to change their fate for the west coast opening of the 2014 portion of the schedule.
Seung-yul Noh, -21, 12 points - Noh took a tumble because even though he made a cut and earned FedEx Cup points - he tied for 57th in Vegas after a missed cut in the opener at CordeValle - those around him gained spots. He began the year in second on the Reshuffle List but has seen a lot of minor gains from various players - a quick peek at the list shows a +3, along with two +7s and +10s, for example. As a result, Noh will need to pick it up fast for prime entry opportunities into events next season.
Patrick Cantlay, -21, 0 points; Brad Fritsch, -19, 0 points - These two have seen a tumble for medical reasons. Cantlay got lucky in the Web.com Tour Finals, getting a second place finish at the Hotel Fitness Championship that allowed him to sit out the rest of the Finals, rest his ailing back, and still have a fairly decent Reshuffle List position when he returned. Well, he started the season in ninth spot, and while he's failed to make a start and no return date has been announced - at least he gave himself the best possible shot to save his season when he does get healthy.
Fritsch has a bulging disk in his back that forced withdrawals from both the Frys.com Open and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He'll need to get better soon or his current position of 31st will keep getting worse and worse.
Will They Ever See a Tournament?
This is the group of players we highlighted in our last article who saw their plights impacted not only by their own play but also by the new system, and how they've done so far in the two events they were eligible to enter, the Frys.com Open and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open:
35. Alex Aragon, +8, two starts thus far, T77-MC (missed cut)
43. Mark Anderson, -1, no starts thus far
44. Kevin Tway, +24, see above
45. Kevin Foley, same position, no starts
47. Will Wilcox, same position, no starts
48. Benjamin Alvarado - no starts