Here we go again…the 2012 PGA Tour season is rounding the corner, as the opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions begins on January 6th. Winners from the 2011 season will not only be vying for this year’s title, but also will be looking to amass valuable 2012 Ryder Cup points.
So what should we all expect for the 2012 PGA Tour season? Hard to say, when no one suspected that there would be 14 first time winners in 2011. The depth on the PGA Tour has never been more evident by this fact, as we can expect much more of the same this year.
Looking at the season from the 1st time winner perspective, let’s highlight some players most likely to break though in 2012.
Rickie Fowler: It’s not a matter of if but when. With that said, it is hard to imagine that Rickie is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory. For Rickie to break though this year, he will need to improve his course management skills and accept par when par is actually a good score. Rickie has a tendency to go flag hunting and would prefer to play exciting “birdie style” golf. His chances of winning will drastically improve, once he finally accepts what the course is giving to him.
Greg Chalmers: Not exactly a household name in the US but certainly one in his native Australia. Recently, Chalmers was attempting to become only the 2nd golfer behind Robert Allenby to capture the Australian Triple Crown, winning the 2011 Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship. Unfortunately he came up short at the Australian JBWere Masters finishing T12. Nonetheless, Chalmers is a seasoned veteran and will be looking to parlay his Austrialian Tour victories into his first PGA Tour win.
Bud Cauley: Cauley was a collegiate stand out at the University of Alabama and rolled the dice in deciding to turn professional after his junior season. Turned out to be a wise decision, as Cauley became only the 5th player behind (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Ryan Moore and Gary Hallberg) to turn professional and obtain his PGA Tour card without attending Q School.
Kyle Stanley: Stanley had a very successful 2011 season, finishing 55th on the PGA Tour money list and apart from Steve Striker miraculous bunker shot on the 18th hole, would have won the 2011 John Deere Classic. Stanley did lose his caddy Bobby Brown, who he picked up after Brown was fired by Dustin Johnson midseason, only for Brown to jump ship and return to DJ’s bag again in the off season. Provided that Stanley can find another respectable looper, he should continue where he left off last year.
Seung-Yul Noh: A Butch Harmon pupil, great things are expected out of Noh. At the young age of 20, Noh already has 2 professional victories under his belt and captured his 2012 PGA Tour Card the old fashioned way…Q School.
Danny Lee: The can’t miss prodigy has taken the long round to the PGA Tour, having played on the European, Asian and the Nationwide Tour. Fortunately for him, everyone takes different roads to the same destination, so let’s hope that Danny has matured enough over the past several years to succeed on the PGA Tour.
Harris English: University of Georgia product, English captured his first professional victory while still in college, when he won the 2011 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational. English then went on to secure his 2012 PGA Tour card through Q School, so he should be ready to go at seasons start.
Kevin Chappell: Chappell reminds me of when Anthony Kim began his professional career, young and a bit over confident. Unfortunately AK had to learn the hard way that winning doesn’t come so easy on the PGA Tour. Chappell had his chances in 2011, finishing T2 at the Valero Texas Open and was in contention to win again at the season ending Children’s Miracle Network Classic before finishing T3. If Chappell can keep his ego in check, which is not always the easiest thing to do when you’re young and talented, then his 1st win will come in 2012.
Bae Sang-moon: Ranked 30th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Moon has amassed his ranking points primarily on the Asian and Japan Tour. However, don’t let this unknown commodity fool you, as Moon also has 11 professional victories under his belt. Therefore look for his emergence on the PGA Tour in 2012.
Jason Kokrak: Kokrak had a stellar year on the 2011 Nationwide Tour, finishing 4th on the tour’s money list with 2 victories. Kokrak is also long off the tee ranked 1st in driving distance in 2011, so look out Kokrak to blaze a new trail on the PGA Tour.
Michael Thompson: Quiet and unassuming, you probably won’t here about Michael Thompson until after he is holding a championship trophy over his head. A former #1 ranked amateur, Thompson earned his 2011 PGA Tour card through Q School and finished 98th on the 2011 money list. Thompson also finished the year strong with a T3 at the McGladrey Classic, where he was in contention for his first PGA Tour victory.
Ted Potter Jr.: Potter is considered a bit of a wild card, as he will either win multiple times wins in 2012 or struggle to retain his PGA Tour card. With that said, which side are you on…will Jr. play in the 2012 FedEx Cup playoffs or will he play in the season ending Fall Series?
So there we have it folks…hopefully we will see many of these names on leaderboards this year, if not the winners circle. Only at seasons end can we look back and see all the amazing stories that will unfolded, so let’s see what the PGA tour has in store for us in 2012.
About the Author
Written by High Fade
I am a PGA and European Tour golf enthusiast with a passion for writing. My goal is to provide you with insightful and informative player profiles and tournament content.