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Who will win PGA Tour Rookie of the year honors?

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The PGA Tour released the list of nominees for Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year on Monday. Members of the Player Advisory Council and Player Directors nominated Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr. for the Rookie of the Year Award.

Surely, Rory McIlroy is the presumptive winner of the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year Award. However, in determining who they will cast their ballots for, players have more to consider for the Rookie of the Year Award, although I believe John Huh to be the favorite, even given Charlie Beljan’s commendable and widely publicized victory at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic last Sunday.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

Without further ado, the nominees are…

Charlie Beljan

Age: 28

Education: University of New Mexico

Hometown: Mesa, Ariz.

Best Finish: 1—CMN Hospital Classic

Wins: 1

Starts: 22

Cuts: 9

Top 10’s: 3

Money List: 63

Notable stats: Beljan was second this year in average driving distance (315.5 yards).

The apparent adrenaline junkie (Beljan is a motorcycle enthusiast and aspires to be strapped to the wing of a plane) had more of the hormone than he could handle during his second round at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Classic. Although convinced he was dying, Beljan persevered on his way to a two-shot victory. If he has any chance of winning this award, it is purely a function of the admiration his colleagues have for him following the performance.

Jonas Blixt

Age 28

Education: Florida State

Hometown: Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

Best Finish 1–Frys.com Open

Wins: 1

Starts: 21

Cuts:  15

Top 10’s: 5

Money List: 34

Notable Stats: Second on tour in Strokes Gained – Putting, First in Sand Save Percentage

Winner of the Frys.com Open, Blixt earned $1.2 million during the Fall Series alone. He was second to only John Huh (22 of 28) in cuts made by a rookie this year. Blixt earned his tour card with a No. 5 finish on the Web.com Tour last year. Finished 71st in the FedEx Cup, thus narrowly missing out on the Playoffs.

Objectively, Blixt had the second best rookie year behind John Huh, who bested him in cuts made and earnings.

Bud Cauley

Age: 22

Education: University of Alabama

Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Best Finish: 3

Wins: 0

Starts: 28

Cuts: 21

Top 10’s: 6

Money List: 44

Notable Stats: 6th in sand save percentage. Made 10 of his last 11 cuts.

Cauley, like only a handful of players, earned his Tour card directly out of college (top 125 on the 2011 PGA Tour non-member money list) and secured his first top 10 in only his fourth start. The Daytona Beach native is the only player selected for the Rookie of the Year shortlist without a win; Cauley’s best finish was 3rd at the Wyndham Championship; he finished the season No. 38 in the FedEx Cup standings.

The son of a U.S. Navy officer and Birdies for the Brave supporter finished the season strong and has a promising future in front of him. Without a win, though, there’s no way he gets this award when the other four candidates were all victorious.

John Huh

Age: 22

Education: University of California-Northridge

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Best Finish: 1–Mayakoba Classic

Wins: 1

Starts: 28

Cuts: 22

Top 10’s: 4

Money List: 28

Notable Stats: 11th in Driving Accuracy. 25th in total driving. 7th in total birdies.

Huh made it through Q-School in 2011 having never played an event on the PGA or Web.com tours. His eight-hole playoff with Robert Allenby at the Mayakoba Classic was one of the longest in Tour history. Huh’s win at that tournament came in only his fifth PGA Tour start.

The New York native was the top-earning rookie in 2012 and was the only rookie to make it to the Tour Championship. With a total of four top-10s and a gritty victory, the Rookie of the Year Award is likely his.

Ted Potter Jr.

Age: 29

Education: Turned pro after high school

Hometown: Silver Springs, Fla.

Best Finish: 1–Greenbriar Classic

Wins: 1

Starts: 25

Cuts: 13

Top 10’s: 1

Money List: 62

Notable Stats: First in GIR Percentage – 150-175 yards. Eighth in putting from 5-10 feet.

The only left-hander nominated for Rookie of the Year, Potter won in West Virginia at the Greenbrier Classic in a playoff over Troy Kelly. Prior to the win, Potter had missed five consecutive cuts. Potter, who worked in the cart barn at a club in Florida to save up money for the Moonlight Tour, won $1.3 million on Tour this year.

Even with a victory, Potter doesn’t have a chance of winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

Players who competed in 15 or more Tour events in 2012 vote by ballot for the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. The final day for ballot submission is Nov. 30, and the award will be given in early December. Recent winners have included Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Tour News

WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf

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Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).

 

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

Related

Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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