PGA Tour cards have been dished out following last week’s Web.com Tour Championship and a new crop of rookies will take center stage this fall as the 2017-18 season begins at the Safeway Open in Napa, California on Thursday. With plenty of the game’s top names taking a few weeks or even months off from competition after the TOUR Championship and Presidents Cup, this week’s Barometer features the upward trends of a few Web.com Tour graduates along with the falling value of several Tour vets.
Hadley recently finished first in the Web.com Tour Finals thanks to a win at the Albertsons Boise Open followed by a runner-up finish at the DAP Championship, coming just over two months after his first victory of the 2017 season at the LECOM Health Challenge. He ranked second in the Web.com Tour’s all-around ranking throughout his brilliant campaign, including seventh in birdie average, 21st in putting average and 14th in GIR percentage. He’ll be one of the recent card-earners to keep an eye on at the Safeway Open.
With top-five finishes in both of the Web.com Tour Finals’ last two events, Burgoon has clinched his PGA Tour card for the upcoming 2017-18 season. At the Web.com level this past season, Burgoon ranked second in birdie average, sixth in scoring average, 15th in total driving and 16th in ball striking. Look for Burgoon to take advantage of scoring opportunities on the par-fives at Silverado this week.
Having already qualified to earn his PGA Tour card heading into the Web.com Tour Championship last week, Mitchell’s decision to withdraw after the third round shouldn’t be looked down upon as he elected to save enough time for ample Safeway Open preparation. In his previous five events, Mitchell surged with four top-six finishes to end his 2017 campaign on the Web.com Tour, where he ranked second in birdie average and fourth in driving distance.
There’s still no sign of a timetable for Lee’s potential return from the back injury that derailed the end of his 2016-17 campaign, having gone without a made cut since the RBC Canadian Open in late July. Even in Lee is able to return in a timely fashion at some point this fall, his back may not be at full strength right away, which clearly impacted his play towards the end of the summer.
Since his runner-up finish at the John Deere Classic in mid-July, Rodgers has missed three cuts to go along with a 73rd-place finish at the Dell Technologies Championship. Despite above-average power, Rodgers ranked just 154th on Tour in birdie average and 169th in SG: Tee-to-Green throughout the 2016-17 season. He also struggled mightily with his average proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards out.
Kim fell to 100th in the FedExCup standings by season’s end due to a poor closing stretch in which he missed three of his last five cuts, while placing no better than T64 during that span. His upside is heavily limited at times due to a loss of strokes off the tee, as he ranked 145th in total driving on Tour throughout the 2016-17 season. Course history is on his side this week at Silverado, however, having placed third at last year’s Safeway Open.
Just one day before the season-opening Safeway Open tees off, Hagy announced via his personal Twitter that a nagging wrist injury will force him to withdraw from the field this week. The severity of the injury is still a bit unclear at this point, so his status for next week’s CIMB Classic will certainly be in question as well.