The “Bubble Boys” of Fall Golf

Average golf fans are not watching golf on TV in the fall.  By average I mean those that love to play golf but only watch professional golf from The Masters through the Fedex Cup playoffs.  However, for an avid fan (which I consider myself to be), the fall is an exciting time in golf because the “fall series” is the last chance for many professional golfers to keep their “jobs” for next year.

Overview of the PGA Tour Fall Series

The fall series is made up of four tournaments (listed below) from October 4 to November 11.  At the end of the fall series the 2012 official money list is final and used to determine status on tour for the following year.

The top 125 on the PGA Tour money list automatically maintain their “card” for the 2013 season.  If a golfer does not make the top 125, then the player is off to Q-School to fight for a place on tour next year.   Think about it for a moment – can you imagine the work you have done all year is not good enough and what you do in the fall determines if you get to keep your current job.  That is what faces many players on the PGA tour and we get to watch it all unfold.

Basically, any player hovering around the 125 position on the money list is not in a comfortable position.  If you are a few spots above 125, you need to play well to stay in your position.  If you are below the 125, you are fighting to crawl your way up and keep you job.

The four tournaments that comprise the “fall series” are:

  1. Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
  2. The Frys.com Open
  3. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

“Bubble Boys” Revealed

The PGA tour is half way through the fall series and each week a new “bubble boy” or player sits in the 125th position.  Before the Justin Timberlake Open, Dave Mathis was the “bubble boy.”  What is his position now?  He is in the 122nd spot.  That’s o.k. but still a bit to close to the 125 cut line for comfort.

As the Frys.com tournament got on the way, Jeff Maggart was in the 125th position.  At the start of the fall series Maggart was at 123.  So he dropped to 125 after the Justin Timberlake Open.  But Maggart had an excellent week at the Frys.com and finished up to position 119.

This week, heading into the McGladrey Classic, Billy Mayfair is the “bubble boy.”  Mayfair has hovered around the 125 position from the start of the fall series (e.g. was 124, then 123 and now 125).  So I would think he is in need of a very good week to get himself a bit more distance from being so close to the cut line.

One of the reasons the fall series is exciting is not just because of the players hovering around the 125 position but also seeing some of the more dramatic moves on the money list.

Dramatic Moves on the Money List

Some of the moves are good and some are bad.  Here are just two examples. John Daly (current position: 141) sliding in the wrong direction and Jason Kokrak (current position: 117) leaping up the money list.

(1) John Daly has been a fan favorite for years but has not always been able to maintain his life on tour (mostly due to his life off tour – let’s just say he knows how to enjoy life but has also had a lot of hard times to over come too).  Daly has played quite well this year and going into the fall series was at 132 on the money list.  If he played well he could perhaps get his card.  Going into the weekend at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Daly was doing great shooting 69 and 63 (8 under par going into the weekend).  On Saturday, Daly imploded shooting an 86 (or 15 over par).  He recovered a bit on Sunday but was still 11 over par for the tournament.   He missed the cut at the Frys.com and now sits at 141 on the money list.

(2) Jason Kokrak is a rookie on the PGA tour.  He is not a player most fans know because he is not one of the “star” rookies.  Kokrak ranks 17 out of 25 on the PGA Tour Rookie Rankings list .  Kokrak had an excellent week at the Frys.com finishing in a tie for second place and taking home $440,000 in earnings; and moving him from 167 on the money list to 117.  Let’s hope he plays well at the next two events and keeps his card.

Next stop – The McGladrey Classic

As mentioned above, Billy Mayfair is the “Bubble Boy” this week at the McGladrey Classic.  If you believe past results are a prediction of the future, then Mayfair will not get the bump he needs this week because he finished in 20th at the McGladrey last year.  But I’m sure the motivation to keep your card can inspire players to do great things so Mayfair could surprise everyone and win.  After all, anything can happen in the fall series…that is why it is worth watching.

Why not check out the PGA Tour Money List, pick a player near the 125 position (any player between 120 and 130) and track their progress this week at the McGladrey Classic.  I promise you will be hooked and want to see what happens at the end of the fall series.

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One thought on “The “Bubble Boys” of Fall Golf

  1. Pingback: Christie Kerr wins and ends two-year drought | Golf Expectations

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