2017 Projected PGA TOUR Earnings

With the PGA TOUR taking a break over the holidays, we have to find ways to stay active. For me, I decided to project the earnings for the upcoming calendar year.

This is the second time I’ve done this, so check out the 2016 edition if you want to see how those projections fared.

The same logic and rules will be applied. These projections are for the 2017 portion of the 2016-17 season only, as many gamers are just gearing up for their season-long drafts.

Many of the Breakout candidates found the winner’s circle last year (Matsuyama, J Thomas, Steele, McGirt, Si Woo Kim) while other were in contention quite often but failed to secure a win (Chappell, Kokrak, Brooks). Looking at the Bounceback Candidates, 2-of-the-5 ended up returning to the winner’s circle.

On the flip side, Hunter Mahan was a Bounceback Candidate, and he did exactly the opposite. He continued his slide, leaving an easy opportunity for a bounceback season in 2017. Some failed breakout candidates included Carlos Ortiz, Tom Hoge, Cameron Smith, Luke Guthrie, Cameron Tringale, and Zac Blair. Only one of these golfers remain on my list of potential breakouts in 2017.

The hardest part of this exercise is projecting the amount of starts for the upcoming season. If you think a golfer will have 25 starts but I only projected them for 18 for example, feel free to divide their $/event and then multiple it how many starts you think they will have.

The Euro Tour stars are also incredibly tough to project, start-wise. Golfers like Soren Kjeldsen, Danny Willett, Byeong Hun An, etc. have the ability to play full PGA TOUR schedules, but they also have allegiance to the Euro Tour, which often limits the number of starts they end up making stateside. Proceed with caution when drafting these Euro Tour stars in your season-long leagues.

I’ve listed the Top 150 below. Some have full status, some have conditional status, while some will only show up for WGCs and majors. Check out the Google Doc version for 225 golfers ranked. Let me know if I missed any notables, as I can add them on rather easy.

The Top 25

Jason Day — $5544000 — 18 starts
Rory McIlroy — $5336000 — 17 starts
Jordan Spieth — $4400000 — 23 starts
Dustin Johnson — $3800000 — 21 starts
Hideki Matsuyama — $3420000 — 23 starts
Brooks Koepka — $2835000 — 21 starts
Justin Rose — $2835000 — 18 starts
Daniel Berger — $2772000 — 24 starts
Rickie Fowler — $2707500 — 22 starts
Adam Scott — $2520000 — 17 starts
Jon Rahm — $2422500 — 21 starts — Breakout Candidate
Bubba Watson — $2422500 — 19 starts
Matt Kuchar — $2394000 — 23 starts
Paul Casey — $2394000 — 22 starts
Patrick Reed — $2392000 — 25 starts
Henrik Stenson — $2340000 — 15 starts
Jim Furyk — $2280000 — 18 starts
Charl Schwartzel — $1989000 — 19 starts
Sergio Garcia — $1950000 — 15 starts
Brandt Snedeker — $1811250 — 24 starts
Phil Mickelson — $1768000 — 18 starts
Justin Thomas — $1732500 — 25 starts
Zach Johnson — $1732500 — 23 starts
Ryan Palmer — $1732500 — 22 starts
Emiliano Grillo — $1664000 — 20 starts

Notes: At the top of the list we have Jason Day, who is only constrained by his health. Jon Rahm is an obvious breakout candidate here. In 15 career starts he’s secured nine top 25s, four of those being top 10s, while two of them were podium finishes. The entire Top 5 is almost interchangeable based on how lucky they get this season. However, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy stand out slightly above the crowd in terms of long-term expected outputs.

Golfers like Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia have been staples among the top tier for years now. With their starts limited to around 15 per year, though, their output could fall rather quickly if have miss a few starts due to injury or just have a down year.

The Top 50

Russell Knox — $1653750 — 24 starts
J.B. Holmes — $1617000 — 23 starts
Chris Kirk — $1575000 — 25 starts
Kevin Na — $1575000 — 24 starts
Bill Haas — $1575000 — 23 starts
Gary Woodland — $1575000 — 23 starts
Jimmy Walker — $1543500 — 23 starts
Marc Leishman — $1543500 — 23 starts
Keegan Bradley — $1470000 — 24 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Ryan Moore — $1470000 — 23 starts
Harris English — $1433250 — 25 starts
Billy Horschel — $1433250 — 24 starts
Kevin Chappell — $1433250 — 24 starts
Charley Hoffman — $1386000 — 24 starts
Brendan Steele — $1365000 — 23 starts
William McGirt — $1328250 — 25 starts
Jason Dufner — $1323000 — 21 starts
Si Woo Kim — $1270500 — 26 starts
Russell Henley — $1260000 — 24 starts
Louis Oosthuizen — $1260000 — 17 starts
Charles Howell III — $1212750 — 26 starts
Tony Finau — $1210000 — 26 starts
Kevin Kisner — $1210000 — 25 starts
Daniel Summerhays — $1210000 — 25 starts
Tiger Woods — $1181250 — 15 starts — Bounceback Candidate

Notes: Coming in at #50 exactly, we have THEE TIGER WOODS. I am very bullish on his return this time around, but this projection does not completely reflect that. I wanted to be cautiously optimistic here, but I will say that I think he eclipses this projection of $1.18 million.

Kevin Chappell puts up monster earnings last season but he remains winless. That could definitely change this year.

Keegan Bradley was showing signs of life toward the end of 2016, so his bounce-back season could certainly be coming in 2017.

The Top 75

Shane Lowry — $1180250 — 16 starts
Branden Grace — $1176000 — 18 starts
Blayne Barber — $1155000 — 24 starts — Breakout Candidate
Roberto Castro — $1155000 — 24 starts
Webb Simpson — $1134000 — 22 starts
Francesco Molinari — $1102500 — 16 starts
Jason Kokrak — $1100000 — 25 starts — Breakout Candidate
Pat Perez — $1100000 — 23 starts
Hudson Swafford — $1089000 — 26 starts
Jamie Lovemark — $1071000 — 22 starts — Breakout Candidate
Patrick Rodgers — $1039500 — 23 starts — Breakout Candidate
Danny Lee — $1039500 — 26 starts
John Senden — $1039500 — 24 starts
Steve Stricker — $1029000 — 14 starts
Cameron Tringale — $990000 — 25 starts — Bounceback Candidate
David Lingmerth — $990000 — 24 starts
Scott Piercy — $990000 — 23 starts
Luke Donald — $990000 — 20 starts
Brian Harman — $924000 — 26 starts
David Hearn — $924000 — 26 starts
Grayson Murray — $924000 — 24 starts — Breakout Candidate
Freddie Jacobson — $885500 — 23 starts
Andrew Johnston — $882000 — 15 starts
Robert Streb — $880000 — 24 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Harold Varner III — $880000 — 24 starts

Notes: Branden Grace has the potential to be a lot higher on this list, but it’s all about how much he elects to play stateside versus Europe. Blayne Barber is someone who entered his professional career with a lot of pedigree. He’s not a golfer you want to target every week, but he has the ability to rip apart shorter courses. With a little experience now under his belt, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him rip off five or so top 10s this season and potentially find the winner’s circle.

Roberto Castro didn’t earn the breakout tag, since he’s coming off his best season as a pro. However, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see him finally find a win which would certainly boost his 2017 earnings.

Jason Kokrak has 14 top 10s in 134 career starts. If he finally finds crosses the finish line, his 2017 earnings could see a huge boost. Cameron Tringale pocketed just 1,064,066 for the entire 2015-16 season. That was his second-lowest total since 2011. The projection above ($990K) is likely his floor for 2017 as he should bounceback.

In 87 Web.com Tour starts, Jamie Lovemark has a top-25 rate over 25%. That finally translated to the big stage as he found a five-pack of top 10s last year. He gets the breakout label for 2017 because he still has the potential to improve upon that.

Patrick Rodgers is another with massive pedigree. He flashed a bit of that potential last year, recording eight top 25s in 28 starts. His potential gives him a decent chance of eclipsing $2 million in 2017 alone, likely making this projection look rather low by year’s end.

The Top 100

Martin Laird — $880000 — 23 starts
Graeme McDowell — $841500 — 20 starts
Luke List — $836000 — 24 starts — Breakout Candidate
Graham DeLaet — $836000 — 22 starts
Tyrrell Hatton — $832000 — 8 starts
Soren Kjeldsen — $819000 — 15 starts
Colt Knost — $808500 — 24 starts
Shawn Stefani — $808500 — 24 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Jerry Kelly — $808500 — 23 starts
Scott Brown — $792000 — 26 starts
Bryson DeChambeau — $792000 — 22 starts
Smylie Kaufman — $792000 — 21 starts
Bud Cauley — $792000 — 20 starts — Breakout Candidate
Retief Goosen — $759000 — 23 starts
Cheng Tsung Pan — $748000 — 23 starts — Breakout Candidate
Cameron Smith — $748000 — 21 starts — Breakout Candidate
Wesley Bryan — $748000 — 21 starts — Breakout Candidate
Anirban Lahiri — $748000 — 20 starts
Chez Reavie — $742500 — 19 starts
Chad Campbell — $731500 — 24 starts
Adam Hadwin — $731500 — 24 starts — Breakout Candidate
Kevin Streelman — $731500 — 24 starts
Sean O’Hair — $726000 — 24 starts
Patton Kizzire — $704000 — 20 starts
Kyle Reifers — $693000 — 26 starts

Notes: I mentioned how tough starts are to project for International golfers, and Tyrrell Hatton is a great example. At World No. 24, he’ll have plenty of opportunity in WGCs and Majors, but will he decide to pursue golf in the U.S. if he earns the status? That’s a big question mark but the 25-year-old has a ton of upside in 2017. If you’re looking at $ earned per event, Hatton should be elite. At the same time, he’ll only appear in the strongest fields so it may mean you have to bench a stud in order to fit him in your lineup.

Cameron Smith was on the breakout list last year, but he struggled to play his best golf for most of the year. He breezed through the Web.com Tour Finals to earn back his PGA TOUR card and is still just 23 years old.

Bud Cauley has struggled with injuries at times, but still owns 27 top 25s in 98 career starts (28%). The 26-year-old has full status again on the main stage which should mean 5-to-10 top 25s are in the works again.

Adam Hadwin improved greatly last year statistically but his money earned per event did not really increase as much. This projection of $731.5K is on the really conservative side. He could easily earn three times that amount and it wouldn’t be too shocking.

The Top 125

James Hahn — $693000 — 24 starts
Nick Watney — $693000 — 23 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Byeong Hun An — $693000 — 17 starts — Breakout Candidate
Zac Blair — $682500 — 26 starts
Michael Kim — $682500 — 25 starts
Kyle Stanley — $682500 — 25 starts
Billy Hurley III — $682500 — 24 starts
Danny Willett — $661500 — 10 starts
Jim Herman — $660000 — 24 starts
Ben Martin — $660000 — 24 starts
Derek Fathauer — $660000 — 24 starts
Aaron Baddeley — $660000 — 23 starts
Jon Curran — $650000 — 25 starts
John Huh — $650000 — 25 starts
Bryce Molder — $650000 — 24 starts
Lucas Glover — $650000 — 24 starts
Fabian Gomez — $630000 — 24 starts
Rafa Cabrera Bello — $630000 — 10 starts
Jhonattan Vegas — $627000 — 24 starts
Ricky Barnes — $627000 — 24 starts
Seung-Yul Noh — $627000 — 24 starts
Johnson Wagner — $627000 — 23 starts
Seamus Power — $617500 — 24 starts
Stewart Cink — $616000 — 20 starts
Andrew Loupe — $605000 — 22 starts

Notes: Health is the big question mark for Nick Watney, but otherwise he’s in a great position to get back on track in 2017. The number of starts will be the wildcard for Byeong Hun An. At 45th in the World Rankings, he should crack plenty of strong-field events which immediately puts him on the radar in terms of $ earned per start. The same goes for Rafa Cabrera Bello. He’s coming off his best year as a professional, so he may be overpriced in your league. The number of starts he will make stateside is also in question, which is why I have his projection rather pessimistic.

The Top 150

Hunter Mahan — $600000 — 24 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Spencer Levin — $600000 — 26 starts
Brett Stegmaier — $600000 — 25 starts
Jonas Blixt — $600000 — 24 starts
Rory Sabbatini — $600000 — 23 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Martin Flores — $594000 — 23 starts
K.J. Choi — $594000 — 21 starts
David Toms — $594000 — 20 starts
Will Wilcox — $594000 — 18 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Jason Bohn — $585000 — 23 starts — Bounceback Candidate
Matthew Fitzpatrick — $577500 — 10 starts
Thomas Pieters — $577500 — 10 starts
Xander Schauffele — $570000 — 24 starts
Morgan Hoffmann — $570000 — 24 starts
Ben Crane — $570000 — 23 starts
Stuart Appleby — $570000 — 22 starts
Alex Cejka — $561000 — 21 starts
John Peterson — $555000 — 23 starts — Breakout Candidate
Brian Stuard — $550000 — 25 starts
Sung Kang — $550000 — 25 starts
Troy Merritt — $550000 — 24 starts
Whee Kim — $550000 — 23 starts
Bronson Burgoon — $550000 — 20 starts
Ryo Ishikawa — $528000 — 20 starts
Matt Jones — $528000 — 15 starts

Notes: Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters would both have the breakout label attached if we knew they had 15 starts coming there way.

John Peterson is returning from injury with 21 available starts remaining on his medical. His ball-striking remains top 50 on TOUR so one or two good weeks with the flat stick is all it will take for Peterson to crack the $1 million mark in a single season for the first time. It could definitely happen.

Hunter Mahan is coming off his worst season on the PGA TOUR, but finished top 50 in the FedExCup standings each of the nine years prior. He can’t go full Brendon Todd and continue sliding this year, can he?

While you don’t have to like the guy (most don’t), you can’t deny Rory Sabbatini’s success over the last 15 years or so. In 18 seasons he’s finished above 50% in terms of cuts made in 15 of those seasons. Last year was not one of those. It’s possible we are seeing age kick in, but there is also a very good chance last year was just a minor hiccup which would allow you to scoop him up in a season-long league for really cheap.

Matt Jones doesn’t have his TOUR card (shockingly/sadly finished just outside the bubble in FEC and the money list). However, he still has the talent to make waves in limited starts.

Notables Outside The Top 150

Ollie Schniederjans… Would have him as a potential breakout candidate based on what we saw two years ago. However, he’s been less-than-impressive in terms of consistency. If he puts it all together he had the talent to end up inside the top 50 by year’s end, but could also be back on the Web.com Tour next year if he can’t find some consistency.

J.T. Poston… Posted eight top 25s in 18 starts on the Web.com Tour last year. I’m not guaranteeing a big year, but I’m certainly optimistic about his future.

Martin Kaymer… Lost his TOUR status after failing to play enough events. Clearly he’s not too concerned about playing in the states. That means we will only see him in WGCs (maybe) and majors, which puts a big hammer on his reliability and upside.

Trey Mullinax… Comes with a lot of pedigree but it took him two years on the Web.com Tour to earn his TOUR card. That puts him in the wait-and-see bucket for me.

Brandon Hagy… The BIGGG bomber is going to be really fun to watch, but I’m not ready to consider him a serious contender yet.

Aaron Wise… Certainly has all the skills to succeed as soon as this year. The problem is status and available starts.

Final Recap

Breakout Candidates (15):
Jon Rahm
Blayne Barber
Jason Kokrak
Jamie Lovemark
Patrick Rodgers
Grayson Murray
Luke List
Bud Cauley
Cheng Tsung Pan
Cameron Smith
Wesley Bryan
Adam Hadwin
Byeong Hun An
John Peterson
Aaron Wise (NO STATUS)

Bounceback Candidates (10):
Keegan Bradley
Tiger Woods
Cameron Tringale
Robert Streb
Shawn Stefani
Nick Watney
Hunter Mahan
Rory Sabbatini
Will Wilcox
Jason Bohn

This article has 5 comments

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  4. Love your breakthrough list I would like to add an additional merit symbols to this list like a baby symbol,I think that this occurrence in a professional golfers life increases concentration on the job in hand.

    Reply
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