Golf Draft Kit: 2018-19 Sleepers & Busts

Golf Draft Kit: 2018-19 Sleepers & Busts

This article is part of our Golf Draft Kit series.

We surveyed our golf writers for sleepers and busts for the 2018-19 PGA Tour season.

SLEEPERS

Luke List

List showed steady improvement the last two seasons, and made almost $2 million more last year than he did in 2015-16. He had a sporadic finish, missing the cut in four of his last eight events, but he still played the weekend 20 times in 29 events. List finished a dreadful 180th in strokes gained putting last year, but he also finished 33rd in scoring average per round and an elite sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green – directly ahead of none other than Tiger Woods. List did not record any top-10 finishes last season, but it doesn't take many of those to really inflate a player's earnings. If he gets his putter going a couple times this season, he's a good bet to surge past $3 million for the first time.
— Kevin O'Brien

Beau Hossler

Hossler did not make much noise last season, but he quietly made the cut in 24 of 28 appearances, including 15 of his last 16 events. He just missed the $2.5 million mark in his first full season on tour, and he could have easily topped that had he claimed victory either – or both – times he finished second. Hossler finished a stellar fourth in strokes gained putting last year and a respectable 49th in strokes gained off-the-tee, but he really struggled in between. He turns just 24 in March, so there is a lot

We surveyed our golf writers for sleepers and busts for the 2018-19 PGA Tour season.

SLEEPERS

Luke List

List showed steady improvement the last two seasons, and made almost $2 million more last year than he did in 2015-16. He had a sporadic finish, missing the cut in four of his last eight events, but he still played the weekend 20 times in 29 events. List finished a dreadful 180th in strokes gained putting last year, but he also finished 33rd in scoring average per round and an elite sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green – directly ahead of none other than Tiger Woods. List did not record any top-10 finishes last season, but it doesn't take many of those to really inflate a player's earnings. If he gets his putter going a couple times this season, he's a good bet to surge past $3 million for the first time.
— Kevin O'Brien

Beau Hossler

Hossler did not make much noise last season, but he quietly made the cut in 24 of 28 appearances, including 15 of his last 16 events. He just missed the $2.5 million mark in his first full season on tour, and he could have easily topped that had he claimed victory either – or both – times he finished second. Hossler finished a stellar fourth in strokes gained putting last year and a respectable 49th in strokes gained off-the-tee, but he really struggled in between. He turns just 24 in March, so there is a lot of growth left in his game, and if he can figure out how to be more efficient from and around the fairway, he's a good bet for win No. 1 of his career at some point in 2018 or 2019.
— Kevin O'Brien

Abraham Ancer

Ancer flashed some great form at times last season. He had five top-10s and showed he can go low. He carded a 62 in the third round at the Quicken Loans National, where he finished T4. The young Mexican also demonstrated he can play with the best, holding the 54-hole lead at the Dell Technologies Championship before finishing T7 in a playoff. The season was monumental in his short career on the PGA Tour, but it is only the beginning. He's one to target this season, as he should easily surpass the $1.7 million he earned last season.
— Pete Gargano

Byeong Hun An

Potent ball strikers who endure disheartening struggles with the flat stick make for ideal sleeper candidates. An fits this mold to a T. The 27-year-old Korean finished his 2017-18 campaign in the top 25 in both strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained approach, but he failed to qualify for the Tour Championship by 12 spots in the FedExCup standings due to a slew of collapses on the greens throughout the season. He fell to 161st in strokes gained putting and 159th in putting from inside 10 feet, but it's important to focus on his ranking of 15th in strokes gained tee-to-green. At 18th in driving distance and eighth in proximity from 200-plus yards, an increase in birdie or better percentage should be on the horizon as he looks to take better advantage of par-5s and lengthy par-4s. An missed just two total cuts worldwide in 2018 while adding six top-10s, and he'll be hungry for his maiden PGA Tour victory during the 2018-19 season.
— Bryce Danielson

Denny McCarthy

McCarthy didn't cut it as a rookie last season, finishing 149th in points. He missed 9-of-22 cuts and had only one top-10 – and that was in an opposite-field event. He really shouldn't have been that bad. He was 64th in greens in regulation and an impressive 20th in strokes gained putting. McCarthy went back to the Web.com Tour, won its Tour Championship and the entire playoffs. He had never won a Web event before. So now he's back on the PGA Tour, including a berth in the Players Championship, and is not subjected to the reshuffle. We could see McCarthy cracking the top 100 in the point standings, maybe even the top 70 to reach the second playoff event.
— Len Hochberg

Daniel Berger

In his first three seasons on Tour, Berger had two wins and four runners-up, along with six top-10s every season. During the 2017-18 season, however, just one top-10. Berger disclosed later in the season that he had a wrist injury. We don't know how long it hampered him, but Berger fell way off his game. Still, he tied for sixth at the U.S. Open and for 12th at the PGA. It stands to reason that if he's healthy, Berger should return to a golfer who was coming off consecutive Tour Championships. After finishing 89th in points, look for a top-30 next season and a return to East Lake.
— Len Hochberg

Kevin Chappell

After two very strong seasons in 2016 and 2017, Chappell's game just never came around last season. While he's always been shaky with the putter, last season the normally solid ball-striker was less than stellar in that area as well. Chappell has a long history of striking the ball well, which means his issues last season likely were just a blip on the radar. Chappell should figure out his ball-striking problems and if he putts at all, he could have a big season.
— Greg Vara

Austin Cook

Cook was certainly more of a sleeper entering last season than this season, but he's still a ways away from being a household name and should get a big bump this season. The reason for the bump? Cook has established himself as a very solid putter, which is something that will always keep his floor high. Last season, however, his ball striking wasn't great, but he still posted strong numbers. With a year under his belt and more familiarity with the courses on the PGA Tour, expect Cook to waste no time in taking his game to the next level.
— Greg Vara

BUSTS

Webb Simpson

Simpson is coming off his most productive year since the 2010-11 campaign, riding a victory at the Players Championship and eight additional top-10 finishes to a ninth-place finish on the money list and a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He didn't drive the ball exceptionally but otherwise displayed a nice all around-game, ranking top-25 in terms of strokes gained approach and strokes gained around-the-green and sixth in strokes gained putting. It's unlikely Simpson will fall too far as he has recorded at least five top-10 finishes seven times over the last eight seasons, but he did not reach $3.3 million in any of his previous three seasons before the last. So, it's more likely he will be a serviceable golfer in 2018-19 rather than an elite one.
— Kevin O'Brien

Keegan Bradley

Bradley grinded a long time on tour following his win at the 2012 Bridgestone Invitational, but he finally got back in the winner's circle last season, claiming victory at the BWM Championship in the third leg of the playoffs. That earned Bradley entrance into all events this season and also propelled him to a 17th-place finish on the money list. Good – great, in fact – for the likeable Bradley, but bad for those buying into him for the 2018-19 season, as the $1.62 million he made with last year's victory was more than he earned in all but two times in the last three years, and nearly as much as he earned in 2016-17. Bradley will play a lot this season, but unless he wins again, he's a long shot to get close to the $4 million he made a season ago.
— Kevin O'Brien

Paul Casey

Casey finally got his second career win in 2017-18, his first coming in 2009. He is a cut make – he missed only two last season – but his overall performance is very up and down, with few high finishes. Casey does not have the consistency to justify his price tag and usually has high ownership. He's a fade.
— Pete Gargano

Patton Kizzire

Kizzire snuck into the Tour Championship at 30th in the FedExCup standings thanks to a pair of victories early in the season at the OHL Classic and Sony Open, but he failed to post a single top-25 in 17 consecutive starts while adding nine missed cuts from the Arnold Palmer Invitational through the BMW Championship. He also crept into the negatives in terms of strokes gained total, while finishing outside the top 125 in strokes gained tee-to-green, strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained around-the-green. Kizzire is in danger of falling outside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking and his chances of even coming close to qualifying for East Lake again next year appear extremely slim.
— Bryce Danielson

Jon Rahm

By bust, we mean Rahm will fall from the top 10 and outside what is generally considered the group of elite golfers. It may not be long term, but he's still only 23 and will experience ups and downs that are characteristic of golfers that age. We don't envision Rahm winning a major, WGC or other big PGA Tour event, but he surely could win, just like he did with the lightly regarded CareerBuilder last season.
— Len Hochberg

Ian Poulter

This is more of a full-fledged bust than Rahm. The Englishman had a remarkable bounce-back season that saw him win a stroke-play event in the United States for the first time and reclaim a spot on the European Ryder Cup team. But Poulter is entering his age-43 season, he won't have to fight for his card for two years and there's no Ryder Cup next fall. Poulter ended the season 34th in the world, and we already started to see a bit of a decline – he had only one PGA top-10 after April.
— Len Hochberg

Francesco Molinari

Molinari's game isn't going to just disappear, but the odds of him playing anywhere near the level he played last season are not good. Molinari has long been a quality player on the European Tour, but his success on the PGA Tour was less than frequent – until last season. Molinari will play well here and there this season, but we won't see a run like he had last season where he picked up two wins (one major) in the span of a month.
— Greg Vara

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