2012 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year John Huh
One of the toughest things to do during a golfer’s rookie season on the PGA Tour is be successful. Yet in 2012, four rookies won, and one golfer was able to play himself into the TOUR Championship.
There are no big phenom names in the 65 players who played for the first time on tour, but some will become household names as they break through and win either a World Golf Championship event or a major.
Last year, we saw Keegan Bradley win the first-ever major he played in at the PGA Championship.
While none of these guys broke through on that kind of level, the level of talent emerging on tour will keep getting stronger and stronger.
Here are five players who broke through their rookie years and will go into their 2013 season as forces to be reckoned with.
*Statistics via PGATour.com
English’s rookie campaign was highlighted by a tie for fifth at Colonial.
Making the cut 22 out of the 27 times he played on the big tour, English ended up nabbing three top 10s and taking in over $1 million in prize money.
With 10 top 25s, this 24-year-old made his mark on the PGA Tour his first year and is a hot prospect for the future.
In his only major of the year, Harris made the cut and finished in a tie for 54th at the Open Championship.
Primarily a player on the European Tour in the past, Jonas Blixt decided to play the Fall Series here and earn his tour card before the system changes for the 2013-14 season.
While Blixt finished 101st in the FedEx Cup race, a third at the Justin Timberlake Shriners in Las Vegas and a win at the Frys.com Open the next week netted him $1.2 million.
With nine top 25s out of 21 events played, Blixt finished the year with $2,255,695 in prize money and a two-year exemption for his win.’
He also earned a trip to Augusta for the Masters.
At 22, Bud Cauley showed everyone he was ready to play on the PGA Tour.
With six top 10s and a third at the Wyndham Championship, Cauley finished 35th in the FedEx Cup and won over $1.7 million in prize money, making the cut in 21 of the 28 events he played.
Most exciting was his tie for fourth at Arnold Palmer’s party at Bay Hill and following up with a tie for eighth at the Shell Houston Open at the tough Redstone course.
While he missed the cut at the PGA at his only major, Cauley grabbed two top fives in his two starts before that at the True South and the RBC Canadian Open.
The first full season for this 21-year-old hot prospect from South Korea was just spectacular.
A tie for ninth at Quail Hollow’s Wells Fargo and a tie for fourth at Tiger Woods’ party at Congressional—the AT&T National—were the highlights for Noh. A tie for 21st at the PGA and two top 20s during the PGA Tour Playoffs were pretty solid as well.
In taking over $1.6 million in prize money in 28 events, Noh made 24 cuts and finished in the top 25 13 times on courses ranging from easy to hard.
Noh’s chances of taking home a major are the highest for a Korean golfer since Y.E. Yang.
One of four rookies to record wins on tour this year, Huh was the only rookie to make the TOUR Championship.
Finishing 28th in the FedEx Cup, John landed his first ever win in a playoff in Puerto Rico at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Played against the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships, a win is still a win, and Huh used that win to earn two top fives in Texas and a tie for 19th at the Memorial.
Huh earned his way into two majors this season but only made the cut at the PGA Championship.
John led all rookies in prize money—earning a whopping $2,692,113 his first full campaign—along with four top 10s in 28 events played.
At just 22, this New York native seems to have the mental makeup to win his fair share of majors.