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Fall Season Recap: It's A Whole New Ballgame

Len Hochberg

Len Hochberg

Hochberg covers golf for RotoWire. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years, covering the Washington Capitals. He co-authored a book on the history of hockey.

The final FedEx Cup point for 2013 has been earned. One hundred eighty-six golfers have at least one, and none is named Tiger Woods.

It's a whole new ballgame for the PGA Tour, with the season now spanning two calendar years. Six fall events have been played, giving some golfers a significant head start in the chase for the FedEx Cup playoffs. Likewise, it also changes the dynamics of fantasy golf, whether you've included the accelerated start to the 2013-2104 season in your league or will stick with the traditional January beginning.

The top six golfers in the standings are the six winners. And among Jimmy Walker, Harris English, Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk and Dustin Johnson, it isn't farfetched to envision the majority of them among the final 30 in the Tour Championship next year.

Walker is the leader with 684 points, a hefty sum considering that was what Sergio Garcia totaled all last season to stand in 59th place. Walker had 996 last season, leaving him in 26th place entering the four-event playoffs, where he stumbled to just miss the Tour Championship. This fast start may give the veteran enough of a cushion to land safely at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta.

So these early point totals absolutely will play a big part in your draft strategy. One caveat to consider, though: With more events leading up to the playoffs, there are more points to be won - about 15 percent more, in fact, according to calculations by PGATour.com.

Points matter, of course, but not at the expense of common sense. Even though Woods and Adam Scott have zero points, and Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy don't have many, it doesn't take long for the heavyweights to climb the standings. Woods played only one of the first seven tourneys of 2013 (he won it, naturally).

What these six events did do is give us at least an indication of how some golfers might perform in 2014. For example, the 24-year-old English. He broke through last year, but what often happens with young golfers is, they take a step or two back after their first leap forward. By winning the McGladrey Classic for his second victory in five months, it appears to be full speed ahead for English, who now will be more costly to secure for your team.

Here's what else the 2013 portion of the 2013-14 season may have told us about some golfers:

MAJOR DEVELOPMENT

Dustin Johnson -
Engaged to Paulina Gretzky, Johnson may also be more engaged in his golf, winning the one elite-field event played so far, the WGC-HSBC Championship in China. He looked like the same old DJ early on Sunday, blowing a six-stroke lead in the face of pit bulls Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell. But he finally showed some chops, rallying to win going away. With the biggest triumph of his career, and a victory for a seventh straight season, is it time for Johnson to finally break through with a major?

BOHN APPETIT

Jason Bohn:
Bohn didn't win any of the four events he entered, but he did have a T2 and a T3, surely driving up his stock to the highest level since he placed 33rd in the FedEx standings in 2010.

VETERAN PRESENCE

Vijay Singh -
Singh is now eligible for the Champions Tour, but it doesn't seem as if he's ready to give up on the PGA Tour just yet. After finishing 146th in the FedEx standings last season, the 50-year-old has played three events and is 10th in points.

Tim Clark -
The South African played 20 events each of the last two seasons, but has teed it up five times already in the early going. With four made cuts, including a T2 behind English in the McGladrey, Clark seems serious about improving his 2013 FedEx Cup position of 56th.

VETERAN PAST

Geoff Ogilvy -
It may be that the seven-time PGA Tour winner, which includes a U.S. Open and three WGCs, never reaches that level again. After finishing 99th in points last season, he opened with a T72 and a solo 69 in two starts.

Darren Clarke -
Committed to playing the PGA Tour full-time for the first time, Clarke, now 45, turned in a T65 and a solo 77 in his two events. He may be five years too late. Or 10.

Kyle Stanley -
Stanley played five of the six events, with nothing better than a T19 to show for it. And the one he missed, the WGC, was the only strong field.

Lucas Glover -
Glover also played five times, and his best was a T40.

BRANDT RICKETY

Brandt Snedeker -
Injury-prone Snedeker hurt his left knee on a Segway in China after his T55 in the WGC event, his lone start so far. He pulled out of the Australian PGA Championship and then Woods' tournament next week in California. He's still in the field for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions the first week of January in Hawaii.

AT LEAST HE HAS HIS HEALTH

Retief Goosen -
The South African is competing on a Major Medical Extension after returning from a back injury. It may just be rustiness after six months off, but his best finish in three events is T47. On the other hand, Goosen is 44 now, and that may be the new norm for the long-ago, two-time U.S. Open champ.

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