2021-22 Golf Draft Kit: Sleepers & Busts

2021-22 Golf Draft Kit: Sleepers & Busts

This article is part of our Golf Draft Kit series.

We surveyed our golf writers for sleepers and busts for the 2021-22 PGA Tour season. Here are the results.

SLEEPERS

Aaron Wise

The 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year had slipped as low as 246th in the Official World Golf Ranking during the fall series of the 2020-21 season, but Wise managed to backdoor a top-50 finish in the FedExCup standings after notching back-to-back top-25s in the playoffs at the Northern Trust and the BMW Championship. A former NCAA champion with the Oregon Ducks, Wise's sophomore slump on the PGA Tour preceded even more disaster in Year 3, when he missed cuts in 12 of 18 starts on the way to just $356K. Wise's bounce-back effort in 2020-21 included nine top-25s and three top-10s, with a second-place at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Aside from putting, he was 46th or better in every major strokes gained subcategory while ranking ninth in GIR percentage, 26th in birdie average and fifth in proximity from 50-125 yards. Although the flat stick can trigger nightmares for Wise and those who roster him, he actually ranked 15th on tour in putting from 10-15 feet and he gained 2.5 or more strokes on the greens in four of his last seven starts to close out the season. Additionally, he gained an average of 3.7 strokes from tee to green per tournament throughout his last nine events dating to the Wells Fargo Championship in early May.

— Bryce Danielson

Lucas Herbert

The 25-year-old Australian is mostly unknown

We surveyed our golf writers for sleepers and busts for the 2021-22 PGA Tour season. Here are the results.

SLEEPERS

Aaron Wise

The 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year had slipped as low as 246th in the Official World Golf Ranking during the fall series of the 2020-21 season, but Wise managed to backdoor a top-50 finish in the FedExCup standings after notching back-to-back top-25s in the playoffs at the Northern Trust and the BMW Championship. A former NCAA champion with the Oregon Ducks, Wise's sophomore slump on the PGA Tour preceded even more disaster in Year 3, when he missed cuts in 12 of 18 starts on the way to just $356K. Wise's bounce-back effort in 2020-21 included nine top-25s and three top-10s, with a second-place at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Aside from putting, he was 46th or better in every major strokes gained subcategory while ranking ninth in GIR percentage, 26th in birdie average and fifth in proximity from 50-125 yards. Although the flat stick can trigger nightmares for Wise and those who roster him, he actually ranked 15th on tour in putting from 10-15 feet and he gained 2.5 or more strokes on the greens in four of his last seven starts to close out the season. Additionally, he gained an average of 3.7 strokes from tee to green per tournament throughout his last nine events dating to the Wells Fargo Championship in early May.

— Bryce Danielson

Lucas Herbert

The 25-year-old Australian is mostly unknown stateside, having played primarily on the European Tour since 2018. He showed his potential on that circuit — winning in each of the last two years, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic that features several top-50 players. Having picked up a pair of PGA Tour top-20s in limited starts last season, Herbert will get to show what he can do full-time this season after picking up his card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Herbert is known for his feel on the greens and long hitting (14th in driving distance on European Tour in 2021) and that should translate to having success in his rookie season.

— Ryan Pohle

Doug Ghim

Ghim was a favorite of mine amongst many DFS contests throughout last season because he has the game that can play anywhere. The former Texas standout is a strong ball-striker, ranking top-25 in SG: approach, SG: tee-to-green, driving accuracy, GIR percentage and proximity to the hole last season. But he also posses an adept short game, ranking 23rd in scrambling and 67th in SG: around-the-green. Ghim seems like a sure thing to easily surpass last season's $1,283,807 in earnings in 2021-22. At 25, he has a whole lot of upside.

— Ryan Andrade

Taylor Moore

The 28-year-old Texan appears to be a late bloomer. He finished fourth on the Korn Ferry Tour money list (combining 2020 and 2021) to earn his PGA Tour card for this season. He had a win, a second, two thirds and 11 top-10s in 37 starts before the Korn Ferry Finals. Moore began 2021 around 700th in the world rankings but is now 133rd. He was on the rise a few years ago, but lost a big chunk of 2019 while injured. In the regular season, Moore ranked fourth on the KF Tour in ball striking, 11th in greens in regulation and 10th in birdie average. Interestingly, his next PGA Tour start will be his first. Not suggesting he will take the big tour by storm, just that he's, well, a sleeper.

— Len Hochberg

BUSTS

Kevin Kisner

Sure, Kisner emerged from a dramatic six-man playoff to win the 2020-21 regular-season finale and provoke silly Ryder Cup talk, but that victory was made possible by a Russell Henley meltdown and the Wyndham Championship's strength of field falling below that of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the American Express and even the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Kisner missed the cut in seven of his last 15 stroke-play events dating to the Players Championship, and he lost an average of 2.4 strokes on his approach shots per tournament throughout his last 10 measured starts. He's not good from 150-plus yards out, which doesn't combine well with his feeble 289-yard average driving distance. Kisner will be 38 in February and the putter can only carry him so far. He's a sell-high candidate with the Wyndham triumph still somewhat fresh.

— Bryce Danielson

Marc Leishman

A fixture among the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking the last several years, Leishman is in a downward trajectory that has me skeptical of his fantasy prospects for next season. He did show some signs of life with three top-5s in 2020-21, including at the Masters, but most of his results left much to be desired. Also alarming is Leishman's loss of distance. The last four seasons he's lost yardage off-the-tee and ranked a career-low 135th in driving distance last season. Unless he can find some regained form and drastic improvement with his irons, an inconsistent season is inevitable. 

— Ryan Pohle

Max Homa

Homa picked up his second career PGA Tour win at his home tournament, the Genesis Invitational. He carried that momentum to a few other good finishes last spring, but since summer Homa has been searching for his game. In his last seven starts of the 2020-21 campaign, the California native had just one finish better than a T40. Homa finished the season ranked outside the top 115 in SG: around-the-green, SG: putting, driving accuracy and GIR percentage. He is one of the easiest bets to fall short of his earnings from last season after taking home nearly $3.5 million in 2020-21. 

— Ryan Andrade

Louis Oosthuizen

There aren't many golfers who can say they had far and away their best putting stats ever in their age-38 season. But Louis Oosthuizen can. He had an incredible year that saw him return to the top-10 in the world rankings thanks to three podium finishes in majors — two runners-up and a third. He led the tour in putting by a wide margin, and it came out of the blue. He ranked 50th in SG: putting the season before, 55th before that and 121st before that. It's not hard to envision putting regression this season, and therefore overall regression. In fact, we even started to see  putting regression in the latter part of the last season. Oosthuizen is still a well-rounded world-class player. But more of a top-25 player at this point than top-10.

— Len Hochberg

Jason Kokrak

Kokrak had a breakthrough season — a career year, really — in his age-36 season. That doesn't happen often. He won for the first two times on the PGA Tour and climbed into the top 25 in the world rankings. What happened? Well, he became an elite putter, and it came out of nowhere, ranking in the top-10 on tour after years well outside the top 100. But we have seen since his second win at Colonial and May, there has been severe putting regression. Further, the season was top heavy with the two wins. Otherwise, he had nothing better than an eighth-place finish, and only six other top-25s. After Colonial, the rest of the season went southward, with only one top-25 in his next six starts.

— Len Hochberg

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