PGA Power Rankings: Breaking Down the Top 25 Players Post-PGA Championship

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2015

PGA Power Rankings: Breaking Down the Top 25 Players Post-PGA Championship

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    With Jason Day’s brilliant victory at the PGA Championship behind us, major season in golf is officially (and unfortunately) over. The PGA Tour’s best will now turn their attention to the FedEx Cup playoffs and any late-season events on their respective calendars before gearing up to do it all over again next season. 

    So, which golfers are in prime position as the playoffs approach? Certainly Jason Day, who now has two wins in his last three starts, is well-positioned. Ditto for Jordan Spieth, who did everything he could to capture his third major of the season but couldn’t catch the surging Day. 

    To evaluate and rank the rest of the standouts on the PGA Tour, we’ll look at seasonal performance, key statistics and recent form with an emphasis on how the player in question fared in Kohler, Wisconsin, at Whistling Straits. And of course, we’ll only be choosing from the 125 players who have booked passage into The Barclays (it’s safe to say if you’re on the bubble, you’re not one of the top 25 golfers on tour). 

    That said, we’ll start with No. 25.      

25. Keegan Bradley

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    Jae Hong/Associated Press

    Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR): 47

    FedEx Cup standing: 62

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T61 (+1)

    Why he's here

    Though he rallied to make the cut at Whistling Straits, Keegan Bradley's tie-for-61st finish a Whistling Straits has to be disappointing, especially considering his missed cut at The Open Championship.

    Bradley did have a decent showing recently, tying for 17th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He's made 18 of 21 cuts this season with eight top-25 finishes. Bradley is 16th on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green. He's 20th on tour in strokes gained total. 

    It's primarily pedigree and statistical success in key areas that place Bradley 25th. 

24. Jimmy Walker

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    OWGR: 14

    FedEx Cup standing: 4

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: Missed cut

    Why he's here

    A cut-misser at the PGA Championship, Jimmy Walker has faded late in the season just as he did after his inspired run in the first part of last year. He hasn't recorded a top-20 finish in his last five starts, with his best showing coming at the Quicken Loans National earlier this month, where he tied for 21st. 

    Still, Walker is twice a winner on the PGA Tour this season, and he has eight top-10 finishes in 20 starts. The Baylor alum leads the tour in strokes gained putting and is 13th in strokes gained total. He's eighth in birdie average and 14th in scoring average. 

    Walker's recent downturn and poor showing at the PGA Championship have him hanging on in the No. 24 spot.  

23. Justin Thomas

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 75

    FedEx Cup standing: 36

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T18 (-8)

    Why he's here

    Rookie Justin Thomas has been impressive this year with 13 top-10 finishes in 26 starts on tour. He's recorded three top-20 finishes in a row, including a tie for 18th at the PGA Championship in his most recent start.

    Thomas is 21st on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, seventh in birdie average and 20th in scoring average. 

    Sure, Justin Thomas hasn’t won this year. But he’s surging entering the playoffs, whereas Walker is not. He’s finished inside the top 10 in more than a quarter of his starts.

22. Phil Mickelson

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    OWGR: 24

    FedEx Cup standing: 51

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T18 (-8)  

    Why he's here

    Phil Mickelson closed with a tidy 69 to finish tied for 18th at Whistling Straits. The showing comes on the heels of a run of up-and down play: a tie for third at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, a tie for 64th at the U.S. Open, a tie for 20th at The Open Championship and a tie for 63rd at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    Lefty has eight top-10 finishes in 16 starts this season with five top fives. He's 10th on tour in birdie average.

    He edges out the golfers above on the expectation that his up-and-down record is about to be more up than down based on his form at Whistling Straits. Mickelson’s tremendous pedigree makes a playoff run look like a possibility. 

21. Branden Grace

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    OWGR: 20

    FedEx Cup standing: N/A

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: 3rd (-15)

    Why he's here

    Branden Grace has put together a pair of strong showings in majors recently: He tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and finished third at last week's PGA Championship.

    He's totaled 10 top-25 finishes in 12 starts this season, including five top-five finishes. Grace is eighth on tour in strokes gained putting and 29th in strokes gained total. 

    Forget the fact that he hasn’t played enough PGA Tour events to place in the FedEx Cup standings—the guy has top-five finishes in the last two majors. That’s some pretty strong recent form, and it’s good enough to earn him this ranking. 

20. Billy Horschel

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    OWGR: 23

    FedEx Cup standing: 43

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T25 (-5)   

    Why he's here

    Billy Horschel has finished 33rd or better in his last five starts. He had some momentum at the PGA Championship before stumbling with a final-round 75.

    Horschel has been solid this year with nine top-25 finishes in 24 starts. Horschel is 15th on tour in greens in regulation and 17th on tour in strokes gained putting.

    Horschel’s top-quartile finishes in recent events and the shot in the arm that his playoff run last year has to be entering this year’s competition put him ahead of Grace.   

19. Louis Oosthuizen

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    OWGR: 13

    FedEx Cup standing: 28

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T30 (-4)

    Why he's here

    The recent highlight of Louis Oosthuizen's play? Finishing second at The Open Championship.

    He followed that performance with a tie for 42nd at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a tie for 30th at the PGA Championship. King Louis has 13 top-25 finishes in 17 starts with two second-place efforts. He's 26th on tour in scoring average at 70.21 strokes per round. 

    Louis wasn’t great at Whistling Straits, but as a contender in a recent major and a perennial top-25 finisher, a spot inside the top 20 seems right. 

18. Brendan Steele

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    OWGR: 78

    FedEx Cup standing: 45

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T12 (-10)

    Why he's here

    A Sunday 67 catapulted Brendan Steele into a tie for 12th at Whistling Straits. Prior to that, he'd tied for seventh at the Barracuda Championship and tied for 30th at the Quicken Loans National.

    Steele has five top-10 finishes in 21 events this season. He's 12th on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and 15th in birdie average. 

    Top 15 in two key statistical areas and coming off a top-15 finish in the season’s final major, Brendan Steele is cresting. Expect him to eat up FedEx Cup points once the playoffs begin. 

17. Sergio Garcia

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 10

    FedEx Cup standing: 31

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T54 (E)

    Why he's here

    Sergio Garcia wasn't at his best at Whistling Straits, where he tied for 54th. He's had a good season thus far, however, making the cut in all 14 of his PGA Tour starts and notching seven top-25 finishes.

    He finished tied for sixth at the British Open and tied for 18th at the U.S. Open. The Spaniard is ninth on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, 14th in strokes gained total and ninth in scoring average. 

    If Garcia had done more at Whistling Straits, he’d be in the top 15 of this ranking. As it is, he’s 17th. 

16. Matt Kuchar

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    OWGR: 15

    FedEx Cup standing: 24

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T7 (-12)

    Why he's here

    Matt Kuchar turned in a pair of weekend 68s at Whistling Straits to finish tied for seventh at the PGA Championship. He tied for 25th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his start prior to that. Kuchar also tied for 12th at the U.S. Open this summer and for seventh at the RBC Canadian Open.

    He's made 20 of 21 cuts this season and totaled five top-10 finishes. He's is fifth on tour in eagles, 12th in strokes gained total and 16th in scoring average. 

    Kuchar’s top-10 finish at Whistling Straits and good work the rest of the summer, paired with his season-long consistency, see him edge out Sergio Garcia. 

15. Hideki Matsuyama

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 16

    FedEx Cup standing: 19

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T37 (-3)

    Why he's here

    Hideki Matsuyama arrived at Whistling Straits after finishing tied for 37th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He recorded the exact same result in Wisconsin, finishing tied for 37th.

    The young Japanese star has eight top-10 finishes this season and has missed just one cut. Matsuyama tied for 18th at both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship. He is fifth in strokes gained tee-to-green, seventh in strokes gained total and sixth in eagles.

    Experiencing a slight downturn in form recently, Matsuyama slides to the No. 15 spot despite a number of top 10s this season.     

14. Paul Casey

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 27

    FedEx Cup standing: 22

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T30 (-4)

    Why he's here

    Englishman Paul Casey followed a tie for 17th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a tie for 30th at Whistling Straits.

    His best recent work? A second-place finish at the Travelers Championship. Casey has six top-10 finishes in 19 starts this season. Casey is 10th on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, 17th in strokes gained total and 12th in scoring average. 

    Though the two have similar records, Casey was a tad better than Matsuyama at Whistling Straits. He edges him out here. 

13. Henrik Stenson

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    OWGR: 9

    FedEx Cup standing: 40

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T25 (-5)

    Why he's here

    Henrik Stenson rebounded from an opening-round 76 to finish tied for 25th at the PGA Championship. He tied for sixth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his start prior to the final major of the season. Stenson has four top-10 finishes in 12 starts this season and hasn't missed a cut. 

    The Swede leads the tour in greens in regulation at 73.48 percent. He's third in both strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained total. 

12. Rickie Fowler

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 8

    FedEx Cup standing: 14

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T30 (-4)

    Why he's here

    Rickie Fowler, winner of The Players Championship in May, tied for 30th at the PGA Championship.

    Prior to the finish, he tied for 10th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and finished second at the Quicken Loans National. He's totaled five top-10 finishes in 17 starts. Fowler is 27th on tour in birdie average and 10th in eagles. 

    Top 10s entering the PGA Championship and the big win at The Players earn Fowler the No. 12 spot. 

11. Patrick Reed

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    OWGR: 18

    FedEx Cup standing: 8

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T30 (-4)

    Why he's here

    Eighth in the current FedEx Cup standings, Patrick Reed never threatened at Whistling Straits. He tied for 15th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational prior to the PGA and tied for 20th at The Open Championship prior to that, so his recent form is solid.

    He's made 21 of 23 cuts this season with 13 top-10 finishes and a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Reed is 13th in strokes gained putting, 16th in strokes gained total and 11th in birdie average.  

    A winner who's in good form and statistically solid, Patrick Reed edges out Rickie Fowler because of greater consistency this season. 

10. Zach Johnson

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    Jae Hong/Associated Press

    OWGR: 11

    FedEx Cup standing: 11

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: Cut

    Why he's here

    Champion Golfer of the Year Zach Johnson has eight top-10 finishes this season, including the win in Scotland at St. Andrews. Unfortunately, one of those top-10 finishes didn't come at Whistling Straits, where he missed the cut.

    He finished sixth at the Travelers Championship and tied for third at the John Deere Classic prior to The Open win. ZJ is 18th on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, 19th in birdie average and 11th in scoring average. 

    A missed cut at the PGA can’t sink Johnson too far in this ranking; a top-10 machine with a major to his name, the Iowa native is No. 10 on this list. 

9. Robert Streb

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    OWGR: 33

    FedEx Cup standing: 6

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T10 (-11)

    Why he's here

    Robert Streb was playing well heading to Whistling Straits (where he tied for 10th), coming off a fifth-place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    He'd notched three top-15 finishes prior to that performance. Streb has nine top-10 finishes this season in 26 starts. He's made 21 of 26 cuts. Streb is ninth on tour in greens in regulation, 11th in strokes gained total and 21st in birdie average.   

    Still somehow under the radar, Streb’s top-10 finish at the PGA has again proved he’s top-tier. A top-10 ranking, then, is only appropriate. 

8. Brooks Koepka

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    OWGR: 17

    FedEx Cup standing: 16

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T5 (-13)

    Why he's here

    Brooks Koepka was impressive in Wisconsin: A final-round 66 secured a tie-for-fifth finish at the PGA Championship. The strong showing came after a tie-for-sixth finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a tie for 18th at the RBC Canadian Open.

    Koepka has done good work all summer, finishing 18th or better at both the U.S Open and the British Open. In addition to his win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Koepka has seven top-10 finishes and has missed just one cut. Koepka is third on tour in strokes gained putting and eighth in strokes gained total. He's also third in scoring average.  

    A big showing at the PGA and hot play recently earn Koepka the No. 8 spot.

7. Jim Furyk

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    OWGR: 6

    FedEx Cup standing: 18

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T30 (-4)

    Why he's here

    Jim Furyk finished fourth at the RBC Canadian Open and tied for third at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational prior to tying for 30th at the PGA Championship. In addition to winning the RBC Heritage, Furyk has recorded eight top-10 finishes. 

    The Pennsylvania native is fourth in strokes gained tee-to-green and sixth in strokes gained total. 

    Furyk finally returned to the winner's circle this season and has racked up his usual array of top-10 finishes. He wasn’t exceptional at Whistling Straits, but really, on a 7,800-yard track, what can you expect from a short hitter who can’t putt?

6. Bubba Watson

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    OWGR: 4

    FedEx Cup standing: 3

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T21 (-7)

    Why he's here

    The No. 4 golfer in the world, Bubba Watson has won twice this season. He's finished inside the top 10 seven times in 15 starts. Prior to a tie for 21st at the PGA Championship, Watson finished second at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and second at the RBC Canadian Open.

    Watson leads the tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and is second in strokes gained total. He leads the tour in eagles and is second in scoring average. 

    Watson has been unable to make a serious run at a major this year, something you’d like to see from a top-ranked player in any power ranking. Still he’s been consistently very good, and as the leader in strokes gained tee-to-green, he is, well, the best player on tour from tee to green. 

5. Justin Rose

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 5

    FedEx Cup standing: 5

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: 4th (-14)

    Why he's here

    One of the players in the hunt late at the PGA Championship, Justin Rose, eventually finished fourth at Whistling Straits. He has been on a quite a run this summer, tying for sixth at the British Open, fourth at the Quicken Loans National and third at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    Rose has won once and totaled seven top-10 finishes this season. 

    The Englishman is eighth on tour in greens in regulation, sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green, fifth in strokes gained total, third in birdie average and seventh in scoring. 

    Justin Rose lands in the fifth spot on the strength of his impressive recent play and his solid seasonal record. His well-rounded statistical success is a consideration as well. 

4. Rory McIlroy

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    OWGR: 2

    FedEx Cup standing: 9

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: 17th (-9)

    Why he's here

    Twice a winner this season, Rory McIlroy's injury-plagued summer kept him from making a real run for either of the final two major championships of the year. McIlroy has recorded six top-10 finishes in nine starts on the PGA Tour this season. 

    Rory is hitting 70.93 percent of greens in regulation this year and has picked up 2.251 strokes on the field with his play. 

    McIlroy’s two wins this season amid limited play recently and his overwhelming talent earn him the fourth spot. With his ankle looking healthy and more reps under his belt (and without a major this season), expect him to go all-in for the FedEx Cup. 

3. Dustin Johnson

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    OWGR: 7

    FedEx Cup standing: 7

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: T7 (-12)

    Why he's here

    Dustin Johnson has totaled eight top-10 finishes in 17 starts this season. A winner in 2015, Johnson tied for second at the U.S. Open, letting victory slip through his grasp. He finished tied for seventh at the PGA Championship after tying for 53rd at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    Johnson leads the tour in driving distance at 318.5 yards per drive. He’s fifth in scoring average at 69.66 and 10th in strokes gained total. 

    Sliding into the top 10 in Wisconsin amid some sloppy driving as well as quality results in a limited number of starts this season net DJ the third spot. 

2. Jason Day

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    OWGR: 3

    FedEx Cup standing: 2

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: 1st (-20)

    Why he's here

    Winner of the PGA Championship, Jason Day has now won two of his last three starts. His summer of golf has been incredible with a tie for ninth at the U.S. Open, a tie for fourth at the British Open, a win at the RBC Canadian Open and a tie for 12th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. In 16 starts this season, Day has three wins and eight top-10 finishes. 

    The Australian is 11th on tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, ninth in strokes gained putting and first in birdie average. 

    If not for the gentleman in the top spot on this least, Day’s summer and record of quality play this season would net him the prime perch. 

1. Jordan Spieth

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    OWGR: 1

    FedEx Cup standing: 1 

    How he fared at Whistling Straits: 2nd (-17)

    Why he's here:   

    First, let's look at the quality of his recent play: He won the U.S. Open, won the John Deere classic, tied for fourth at the British Open, tied for 10th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and finished second at the PGA Championship. 

    This season, Spieth has amassed a total of four wins, 14 top-10 finishes and four second-place finishes.

    Spieth is second in strokes gained tee-to green, fifth in strokes gained putting, first in strokes gained total, second in birdie average and first in scoring average. 

    His play has been brilliant. He is the No. 1 golfer in the world, and he will be the top-seeded player in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Spieth is the only choice for the top spot in this list. 

    All stats courtesy of PGATour.com.

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