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Culp's Corner

Top 150 Golfers for 2020 Part 2

by Josh Culp
Updated On: December 18, 2019, 10:18 pm ET

Looking ahead to the new year, a lot of season-long golf leagues are prepping for their drafts. 

I'm going to dive into the stats for all the PGA TOUR members and then pluck out the top 150 names to target in drafts. I will list a few key stats and then forecast a rough estimate of earnings in 2020 based on 1-Year Performance, 3-Year Performance, and expected number of starts. 

These rankings will be broken up into three segments. If you missed Part 1, check it out. Part 3 will be out on Friday. 

1-Year Performance = Strokes Gained per Round during all worldwide events in 2019. Ranking is compared to the Top 200 golfers with any TOUR status. Adjusted for the strength of field each golfer played in. 

3-Year Performance = Strokes Gained per Round during all worldwide events since 2017. Recent rounds weighted more heavily. Ranking is compared to the Top 200 golfers with full-time, medical, or conditional status. 

Projected 2020 Earnings = An estimate of PGA TOUR earnings during the 2019-20 season, excluding any money collected during the fall schedule. 



#100 Austin Cook

2019 SG Rank: 165
3-Year SG Rank: 115
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,689,565

Notes: His magic ran dry with Henley on the bag so they cut ties. Could be the switch he needs to get back into form. Before last season, the 28-year-old was 31-for-39 on the PGA TOUR with 14 of those doubling as top 25s. His 1-Year numbers are trending the wrong way but let's not throw him to the wolves just yet. 

#99 Kevin Na

2019 SG Rank: 60
3-Year SG Rank: 50
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,691,796

Notes: Battled through injuries all year but managed a very efficient season that included a win and two other top 10s in 19 starts. He's still relatively young but the neck pain isn't going away anytime soon. Makes him a risky option for season-long leagues but one that will crush his draft position if he stays healthy. 

#98 Adam Schenk

2019 SG Rank: 109
3-Year SG Rank: 118
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,705,254

Notes: Struggled his first time around the PGA TOUR circuit but figured it out last season with a 20-for-31 record that including nine top 25s. He gained strokes off-the-tee, on approach, and putting last season. If his increased performance was partially due to comfort on the courses he's playing then a third time around should only continue to help him. 

#97 Pat Perez

2019 SG Rank: 91
3-Year SG Rank: 69
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,713,002

Notes: Had a scary calf injury but still managed to crack the Playoffs last season. He looked like himself again this fall with a pair of top 10s in five starts. 

#96 Nick Watney

2019 SG Rank: 108
3-Year SG Rank: 92
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,714,332

Notes: Has now made the FedExCup Playoffs 12 times in his career. Was settling for cuts made after his return from injury in 2017 but regained some flash last year with three top 10s. 

#95 Tom Lewis

2019 SG Rank: 57
3-Year SG Rank: 61
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,725,023

Notes: Stormed the KFT Championship to earn his card for 2020. Didn't have any luck on the PGA TOUR this fall but grabbed top 15s in four of his last five starts on the Euro Tour. World No. 54 should split his time between tours but as a first-time PGA TOUR member, I'd expect most of his attention to fall in the States, leading to a likely 15-to-17 starts. 

#94 Beau Hossler

2019 SG Rank: 141
3-Year SG Rank: 114
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,727,659

Notes: One of the best putters on TOUR but wild off the tee. If he can manage to reign in those errant tee shots just a touch then he could make a huge impact in 2020. 

#93 Troy Merritt

2019 SG Rank: 107
3-Year SG Rank: 117
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,730,886

Notes: An emergency surgery in 2018 to remove a blood clot didn't slow him down. In fact, he responded with one of the best season of his career in 2019. Merritt went 14-for-21 with nine top 25s. His career cuts-made percentage hovers around 50% but he's now made the Playoffs in five of the last six seasons, becoming a bit of a steady option. 

#92 C.T. Pan

2019 SG Rank: 123
3-Year SG Rank: 108
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,742,086

Notes: He's not flashy but he's finished top 90 in the FedExCup standings in each of his first three seasons on TOUR. His 1-Year and 3-Year stats suggest he has overpeformed a bit but he's still young, has elite amateur pedigree, and still has room to grow. 

#91 Kevin Tway

2019 SG Rank: 120
3-Year SG Rank: 106
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,755,274

Notes: One of the longest hitters on TOUR but he gained strokes off-the-tee in just 43% of his rounds over the last 12 months. That tells us a lot about how wild he's been lately. Had to adapt and shine on approach and around-the-green. It's a big if, but if he managed to clean up the loose tee shots then he'd become a top-50 pick. 

#90 Keith Mitchell

2019 SG Rank: 97
3-Year SG Rank: 94
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,761,171

Notes: He become a PGA TOUR winner in 2019 but it likely seems like a disappointing year for weekly gamers that have followed over the summer. Mitchell ended the season with just one top 35 in his last 14 starts. It's really just a short-game issue so there is no reason to pull the plug yet. 

#89 Alex Noren

2019 SG Rank: 95
3-Year SG Rank: 48
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,765,538

Notes: May have flirted too closely with the line between playing both tours and missed the Playoffs as a result. Now playing with conditional status, perhaps that will kick him into gear. It seemed to be the case this fall as he recorded top 15s in both PGA TOUR starts. At World No. 73 he's longer a guarantee for WGC events but on the flip side, that should result in him playing more weaker-field events that give him a high probability of winning. 

#88 Adam Long

2019 SG Rank: 104
3-Year SG Rank: 126
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,780,962

Notes: Similar to Keith Mitchell above, it's just short game that is holding him back from being an elite player. Long has gained off-the-tee in 60% of his rounds over the last 12 months and 62% in the approach category. Already played 7 events in the fall so you know he wants to stay busy. 

#87 Scott Piercy

2019 SG Rank: 90
3-Year SG Rank: 83
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,782,505

Notes: He's a family man now but that hasn't slowed him down one bit over the years. Has cracked the Playoffs in 10-of-11 seasons. Ranked top 80 in all four sub-categories of strokes gained last season. 

#86 Joel Dahmen

2019 SG Rank: 106
3-Year SG Rank: 105
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,784,834

Notes: Has played 28 and 29 events in the last two seasons. Already cracked 7 off in the fall. You're getting a lot of volumen when you draft Dahmen but also steady play as his 1-Year and 3-Year numbers (per round) both sit around 105th. 

#85 Xinjun Zhang

2019 SG Rank: 67
3-Year SG Rank: 110
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,792,160

Notes: He become one of the first men from China to hold a PGA TOUR card back in 2018 and struggled to live up to the hype. Is having a much better start to the 2020 campaign with three top 20s in eight events played. He can really catch fire from tee-to-green which gives him winning upside. 

#84 Matt Jones

2019 SG Rank: 71
3-Year SG Rank: 91
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,792,186

Notes: He was living on the wrong side of the (top 125 and top 150) bubble for three years before posting a 17-for-27 record last season with six top 25s. Went back home to win the Australian Open, as well. The 39-year-old Aussie holds a career top-25 rate over 20 percent (66-for-298). Hasn't cracked the podium in a PGA TOUR event since 2015 but maybe his Aussie Open win will give him that added confidence to get him back over the top. 

#83 Lanto Griffin

2019 SG Rank: 82
3-Year SG Rank: 100
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,803,342

Notes: It's wild how Griffin was 50-percent in just making cuts in 2018 (13-for-26). You'd never guess that if you saw him numbers in 2019. He ended the Korn Ferry Tour season with top 25s in 10 of his last 14 starts and then snowballed it into six straight top 25s on the PGA TOUR, including a breakthrough win at the Houston Open. His likely 2020 output is probably somewhere in between. Not rattling off top 25s every week but not struggling to make cuts, either. 

#82 Phil Mickelson

2019 SG Rank: 115
3-Year SG Rank: 66
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,818,138

Notes: The dropoff was harsh after winning at Pebble Beach in February. He's hinted at some off-the-course or personal issues in pressers but may be underselling that side of things. If his mind is right then he's a huge bargain for 2020 but that is no guarantee. 

#81 Brian Stuard

2019 SG Rank: 75
3-Year SG Rank: 112
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,828,778

Notes: He's one of the shorter hitters on TOUR but above average from fairway to pin to make up for the lack of pop. The upside is limited on certain courses but he's rattled off top 25s in 49-of-233 career starts which is not too shabby and his 1-Year metrics are trending upward compared to his career baselines. We might be looking at a mid-career surge or maybe last year was the anomaly. 

#80 Harold Varner III

2019 SG Rank: 96
3-Year SG Rank: 95
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,835,277

Notes: The 29-year-old from the Carolinas does it all... except for putt. It may be tilting to watch his rounds on Shot Tracker but the end-of-season results are worth it. Still in his 20s so the best may still be yet to come. 

#79 Vaughn Taylor

2019 SG Rank: 46
3-Year SG Rank: 70
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,886,236

Notes: He's not getting any younger but he's coming off a season where he finished top 50 in the FedExCup race. That was his best finish since 2010. There are a few ways to look at this. One, you might think it was an outlier of a season. Two, you might suggest that his steady play is finally getting rewarded. Really it's been an uptick in his putting numbers that have driven the performance boost. Stay on for the ride until his putter cools off. 

#78 Harris English

2019 SG Rank: 83
3-Year SG Rank: 103
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,957,590

Notes: The future didn't look bright for English when he finished 118th, 125th, and then 149th in the FedExCup race for 2017, 2018, and 2019. It seemed like was taking a penalty due to an errant tee shot about once a round. It's all clicking again and the future looks bright again. English has gained strokes off-the-tee in 60% of his rounds over the last 12 months. His putter remains a lethal weapon. He heads into the holidays ranked top 15 in the 2020 FEC race with four top 10s in six fall starts. This rank is a little conservative as you'll likely need to draft him earlier if others are ready to ride the wave, as well. 

#77 Brendon Todd

2019 SG Rank: 68
3-Year SG Rank: 131
Projected 2020 Earnings: $1,969,403

Notes: Speaking of career revivals, Todd went from having the swing yips to winning back-to-back tournaments in a matter of a year. It's hard to say what version will show up a safe bet is to go with his 1-Year Baseline which is 68th. His ball-striking numbers aren't well-suited for most TOUR courses so he won't be on my wish list, personally. 

#76 Nick Taylor

2019 SG Rank: 73
3-Year SG Rank: 97
Projected 2020 Earnings: $2,000,368

Notes: The 31-year-old Canadian had the most consistent season of his career (21-for-28) but really didn't get as much out of the strong play as he could have. Based on the 1-Year SG Rank, he deserved to be top 80 in the FedExCup race but ended up at 120th. Isn't a sexy name but could have breakout written all over him by year's end. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.