News & ToursOctober 1, 2014

Congrats, Chesson Hadley, but this crop of rookies was pretty weak

Chesson Hadley was named the 2013-14 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, winning a vote by his peers. Although it wasn't quite the slam dunk as Rory McIlroy taking Player of the Year honors, Hadley was an obvious choice as well -- which doesn't say too much for his fellow first-timers on tour.

Related: 8 eye-popping stats from the PGA Tour season

Not to take anything away from Hadley, who had a nice season that was highlighted by a win at the Puerto Rico Open, but there weren't any serious challengers. European Ryder Cup team member Victor Dubuisson and Brooks Koepka could have given the 27-year-old Hadley more of a run, but both are just special temporary members of the tour and combined to play in 28 events -- one fewer than Hadley.

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Those three players were the only golfers nominated for the award by the PGA Tour, which nominated five players for player of the year for some reason. Hadley's victory, plus his four top 10s and a rookie-best (Dubuisson and Koepka were ineligible) 49th-place in the FedEx Cup standings put him over the top.

Related: Golf Digest's profile on Hadley

But things really fell off in the rookie ranks after that trio. Only one other rookie, Brice Garnett, who finished 121st in the FedEx Cup standings, even advanced to the Playoffs.

So, that's four of the 16 players who qualified as rookies -- essentially, a player's first year on the PGA Tour playing at least 10 events for finishing in the top 125 on the FedEx Cup or official money list -- who retained their tour cards for the 2014-15 season. Another two, Hudson Swafford and Tyrone Van Aswegen, kept their cards through the Web.com Tour Finals.

The 16 rookies combined for 16 top 10s (Will Wilcox was the only player other than Hadley, Dubuisson and Koepka to have more than one top 10) and just eight top fives. Outside of that top trio, the other 13 rookies only had three top fives and seven top 10s.

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So of the group, Hadley had the best PGA Tour season, Dubuisson looks like the best player and Koepka, who finished T-4 at the U.S. Open, probably has the best chance of being on the next U.S. Ryder Cup team. Apart from that? Well, better luck next year.

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