Golf Draft Kit: 2019-20 Sleepers & Busts

Golf Draft Kit: 2019-20 Sleepers & Busts

This article is part of our Golf Draft Kit series.

We surveyed our golf writers for sleepers and busts for the 2019-20 PGA Tour season. Here are the results.

SLEEPERS

Viktor Hovland

While he wasn't able to land a PGA Tour card with his limited sponsor exemption starts last year on the PGA Tour like fellow newcomers Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa, he did clinch his card for the 2019-20 season with a runner-up finish at the Albertsons Boise Open in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. The Oklahoma State product posted finishes of T54-T13-T13-T16-4th in five starts as a professional after notching low-amateur status in both the Masters and U.S. Open with finishes of T32 and T12 respectively. Hovland is an incredible ball-striker. He would have ranked second on the PGA Tour in SG: Off-the-tee and third in SG: Approach had he had enough starts to qualify. The short game is still an area for improvement, but that consistent ball striking has the 21-year-old poised to make a lot of money for years to come. Buy stock in the kid now before it's too late. 
— Ryan Andrade

Jason Day

The 2018-19 season was the Aussie's worst since 2012. Day finished 54th in the FedExCup standings and 35th on the money list. The difference was his short game proficiency. Day ranked 100th in SG: Around and 102nd in scrambling last year, which is almost unthinkable if you've watched him for the last five years. Iron play has always been the issue with Day, but he was 16th in GIR

We surveyed our golf writers for sleepers and busts for the 2019-20 PGA Tour season. Here are the results.

SLEEPERS

Viktor Hovland

While he wasn't able to land a PGA Tour card with his limited sponsor exemption starts last year on the PGA Tour like fellow newcomers Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa, he did clinch his card for the 2019-20 season with a runner-up finish at the Albertsons Boise Open in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. The Oklahoma State product posted finishes of T54-T13-T13-T16-4th in five starts as a professional after notching low-amateur status in both the Masters and U.S. Open with finishes of T32 and T12 respectively. Hovland is an incredible ball-striker. He would have ranked second on the PGA Tour in SG: Off-the-tee and third in SG: Approach had he had enough starts to qualify. The short game is still an area for improvement, but that consistent ball striking has the 21-year-old poised to make a lot of money for years to come. Buy stock in the kid now before it's too late. 
— Ryan Andrade

Jason Day

The 2018-19 season was the Aussie's worst since 2012. Day finished 54th in the FedExCup standings and 35th on the money list. The difference was his short game proficiency. Day ranked 100th in SG: Around and 102nd in scrambling last year, which is almost unthinkable if you've watched him for the last five years. Iron play has always been the issue with Day, but he was 16th in GIR percentage last year, easily his highest ranking in that department since 2015. That short game will return to form next year and he will be motivated to get back to East Lake. Reminder, the 12-time-winner on the PGA Tour is still only 31 years of age. When he's right, Day is as consistent as they come.
— Ryan Andrade

Ollie Schniederjans

Schniederjans was cruising along his first two years on the PGA Tour and then he forgot to strike the ball last seasons. Schniederjans, who was a middle of the pack guy from tee to green in his first two seasons, dropped to 167th on the PGA Tour last year and his earnings went in the tank. Starts will be an issue as he lost full privileges, but he should get enough exemptions to easily top his $400k number from last season. 
— Greg Vara

Matthew Fitzpatrick

I absolutely love the direction the young Englishman is heading.  Fitzpatrick has been picking up steam all season long on both tours.  He has only one missed cut on the PGA and European Tour this year. Fitzpatrick has finished solo 2nd four times between both tours this season.  He has also been a player to watch in majors and WGC events. He was T12 at The U.S Open and T4 at FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He's one of the leaders on the European Tour in stroke average, driving accuracy and putting.  Fitzpatrick is gonna continue to have great success on The European Tour and cut in deeper to the PGA purses as well this coming season.
— Pete Gargano

Sepp Straka

Straka ended his rookie campaign just outside the top-100 in terms of FedEx Cup points to maintain full status on the PGA Tour heading into the 2019-20 season, but the 26-year-old Austrian impressively gained strokes off the tee in 10 consecutive starts to combat a wildly inconsistent short game down the closing stretch from May to August. He also gained an average of 2.3 strokes tee to green per event during this span, which was highlighted by a top-30 performance at the U.S. Open during his first career appearance in a major championship. A rough initiation period for Straka as a rookie included a lousy 71.92 scoring average throughout his first 13 rounds on Tour, ultimately missing four straight cuts from the Sanderson Farms Championship to the Desert Classic. Top-20s at the Farmers Insurance Open and Puerto Rico Open would serve as essential confidence boosters, as Straka eventually picked up his first ever top-3 result midway through the summer at the Barbasol Championship against less demanding competition. Straka made the cut in just over half of the 25 events he played, but failed to reach the $1M mark in on-course earnings. Nonetheless, he ranked 16th in birdie average, 22nd in driving distance, 28th in SG: Off-the-Tee and fourth in proximity from 150-175 yards. Such quality ball-striking metrics foreshadow an upswing in Straka's value as a deep sleeper.
— Bryce Danielson

Brandon Hagy

The 28-year-old Californian's career was derailed by a wrist injury, but now it appears he is healthy. Hagy finished tied for fifth and runner-up in the first two Korn Ferry playoff events to regain his PGA Tour card. The big-hitter showed promise as a rookie in 2016-17, finishing 113th in the point standings with six top-25s. But he was limited to only three events in 2017-18 and last season, under a major medical extension, made 13 starts but only one cut. Not predicting greatness for Hagy, just the potential to return to the top-125. As a rookie, he ranked third in driving distance and displayed a better-than-average short game. With 11 events still left on his medical extension, Hagy will have a slightly higher priority ranking than other Korn Ferry grads at the start of the 2019-20 season. 
— Len Hochberg

BUSTS

Jordan Spieth

Forty-six events played over the past two seasons and just THREE top-3 finishes to show for someone who placed eighth or better in the FedEx Cup standings each year from 2013 through 2017. Spieth's downfall from the upper echelon has been no secret, but there were rumblings about a return to form when he racked up three consecutive top-10s from the PGA Championship to the Memorial Tournament and then again when he strolled to three scores of 67 or better at the Northern Trust. All four of these seemingly promising developments masked what was actually incredibly favorable variance with the flat stick as he gained an average of 7.6 strokes putting per event while his ball striking still lagged behind. Spieth finished the 2018-19 campaign second to only Denny McCarthy in SG: Putting, but the former fell to 179th in GIR percentage, 176th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 181st in driving accuracy and 152nd in proximity. A red-hot putter is the only thing that saved Spieth from making less than $2M, ultimately posting career lows in both earnings and FedEx Cup points. Even Smylie chuckled at Spieth's ball-striking numbers this past season.
— Bryce Danielson

Phil Mickelson

Father time has finally caught up to the 49-year-old. After winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, Mickelson posted exactly one finish inside the top-30 in 16 starts. Despite ranking 39th on the money list at nearly $2.5 million, Mickelson was 157th in SG: Total. While his body is looking much better, his game certainly is not. The 2019-20 season will be the first year Mickelson does not crack the $2 million threshold since 2003.
— Ryan Andrade

Bryson DeChambeau

After posting four wins worldwide in a nine tournament stretch, DeChambeau went South. He posted just two top-10's in his last 17 starts of last season, He also has not finished better than a T25 in any of his last 11 starts in majors. The SMU product has been inconsistent around the greens (115th in SG: Around) and with his iron play (113th in GIR percentage). DeChambeau has just been too inconsistent the past six months for me to think he will be just snap right out of it next season and push the $3 million barrier.
— Ryan Andrade

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar set a career high this past season with over $6.2 million in earnings. This after a poor 2017-2018 season. Kuchar won twice early in the season last year and while he could pick up a win again this season, he's not getting two and he's not approaching $6 million again this year. Look for Kuchar to drop back into the mid-$4 million range this season. Not bad, but a steep drop from the previous season. 
— Greg Vara

Sergio Garcia

Garcia has been out of sorts since early in the year.  He has had erratic behavior on the course and inconsistent scoring for some time now.  He has only made three cuts in his last six starts on the PGA Tour. His last high finish came in June on The European tour where he was solo 7th at Andalucia Masters, his home event.  The last top 5 for him on the PGA Tour was in May at Wells Fargo, where he finished T4. Garcia is an elite talent and will be back. I am staying away at this point in time until there is a change in attitude, and we see the true Masters Champion again.
— Pete Gargano

Francesco Molinari

The Italian finished 2018 at No. 7 OWGR after a career-year that saw him win three times worldwide, including the Open Championship at Carnoustie. Before that, Molinari had totaled three wins over the previous decade. This past season, he won again at Bay Hill, then was leading the Masters before fatefully finding Rae's Creek on Sunday. After that April catastrophe, Molinari didn't get another top-10 the rest of the season. His laser-like iron game abandoned him; he ranked 169th on Tour in greens in regulation. Not predicting a full-fledged bust for Molinari, just continued regression for someone who had one season for the ages two years ago and will turn 37 in November. Don't buy Molinari at 2018 prices. 
— Len Hochberg

This article appears in RotoWire's 2019-20 Fantasy Golf Draft Kit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
Pete Gargano
Gargano covered golf for RotoWire, specializing in the European Tour.
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years. He was named 2020 "DFS Writer of the Year" by the FSWA and was nominated for the same award in 2019.
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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