Ten days after the 2016-17 PGA Tour season ended at Atlanta’s East Lake GC, the 2017-18 PGA Tour season began in northern California.
The 2017-18 schedule is virtually identical with the exception of a new fall tournament in South Korea and a spring event in the Dominican Republic, which will be held opposite the WGC Match Play event.
The three rotating majors will be at Shinnecock Hills (U.S. Open), Carnoustie (British Open) and Bellerive (PGA), with the PGA playing in August for the last time before moving to May in 2019. The tournaments in Houston and Washington, D.C., are without sponsors as the season begins, and their future is very much in doubt, especially the tournament in D.C.
Among the almost 200 players with full status this season are 24 players with tries to Georgia, plus another eight with limited status.
Here’s a look at the players with Georgia ties who will be playing on the PGA Tour this season, in order of their finish on the FedExCup points list in 2016-17:
Kevin Kisner (12): The former UGA golfer enjoyed his third straight outstanding season, concluding it with a strong showing in the Presidents Cup, where he went 2-0-1 in team matches with partner Phil Mickelson and halved his singles match. Was a frequent presence on leader boards with a win in Colonial and a closing tie for third in the Tour Championship.
Russell Henley (13): Macon native and ex-UGA standout won in Houston to qualify for Masters the following week, and T11 finish in Augusta earned him a repeat invitation. Closed with 65 at East Lake to join Kisner in a tie for third.
Matt Kuchar (14): Former Georgia Tech star and St. Simons Island resident continued his near-decade stretch of stellar play with another spot in the Tour Championship field. Was T4 in the Masters, a strong second to Jordan Spieth in the British and closed out season with four top 10s in his last five starts, including three of four in the Playoffs.
Patrick Reed (22): Led Augusta State to back-to-back national championships and remains a stalwart for U.S. teams in tandem with Jordan Spieth, going 3-0-1 in Presidents Cup before losing in singles. Did not win in 2016-17, but tied for second in PGA Championship and played well in the Playoffs.
Brian Harman (25): Savannah native and ex-Bulldog had his best season, winning the Wells Fargo in Wilmington, N.C., and making a determined challenge in the U.S. Open, tying for second. St. Simons resident did not play his best golf in the Playoffs, but that did not detract from the quality of his play throughout 2017.
Hudson Swafford (38): Ex-UGA golfer and St. Simons resident scored his first PGA Tour win in the southern California desert, but had only a handful of top finishes after that, costing him a spot in the Tour Championship field.
Charles Howell (40): Augusta native was in position to qualify for Tour Championship and the 2018 Masters after a consistently solid season, but fell out of the top 30 with a poor Playoffs showing. Will need to move up from the high 60s in World Golf Ranking into top 50 to get back to Augusta, which has eluded him almost annually for the past decade.
Wesley Bryan (41): 2016 Web.com Player of the Year followed that up with quality rookie season on PGA Tour, winning in Hilton Head the week after the Masters to earn 2018 invite to Augusta, where he now resides. Other than a near-win in the John Deere, was pretty much invisible after his victory.
Zach Johnson (48): One of the PGA Tour’s most consistent players for more than a decade, 2016-17 was one of his least successful seasons, with a runner-up finish at Firestone his lone highlight. After a brief summer flurry, the St. Simons resident cooled off in the Playoffs until a closing 64 in Chicago in his final round of the season. Opened this season with T13 in Napa.
Luke List (50): One of the tour’s longest hitters had an excellent first half of the 2016-17 season, but after making a strong run at a win in Houston, was rarely heard from again. List, who grew up in north Georgia, took a while to harness his talents, but after a slow start to his pro career is beginning to hit his stride, his lackluster second half last season notwithstanding. Was T13 in Malaysia in second start of 2017-18 season.
Stewart Cink (53): Former Georgia Tech standout and long-time Duluth resident had his best year in some time in 2017, coinciding with the positive health prognosis for his wife Lisa. Season could have been better, but he did not capitalize on chances to win at Colonial and in Memphis after being among the third round leaders. Was T13 in Malaysia to start new season.
Scott Brown (55): Augusta native was second twice in 2017, sharing runner-up honors in Los Angeles behind Dustin Johnson and pairing with fellow Aiken, S.C., resident Kisner in the team event in New Orleans. Those were his only top 10s along with a pair of top 15s at Colonial and the PGA Championship.
Ollie Schniederjans (60). Recent Georgia Tech star who grew up in Powder Springs was enjoying a very successful rookie season before suffering through a lull that lasted for much of the spring and summer. Almost won in Greensboro in the regular season finale after a terrific late-tournament battle with Henrik Stenson, but completely washed out in the Playoffs with a chance to qualify for the Tour Championship and 2018 Masters. Bounced back with solid starts in first two events of 2017-18 season..
Bubba Watson (75): The former Georgia Bulldog suffered through the poorest season of his 12-year PGA Tour career, with a tie for sixth in the Memorial his best showing. He managed a top-10 in the Playoffs opener, but made it through only one more event before his season ended.
Chris Kirk (92): Ditto for the Woodstock native and fellow ex-Bulldog, who had the least successful of his seven years on the tour after a promising start in the fall of 2016. Kirk, who resides in Athens, had three top 10s early in the 2016-17 schedule including a tie for second in Mississippi, disappeared for the rest of the season, with a tie for 12th in the Players his only strong showing.
Patton Kizzire (99): Started strong with runner-up finish in season opener in Napa, but St. Simons resident did little the rest of the way, as his sophomore season was not as successful as his rookie year.
Richy Werenski (106): Recent Georgia Tech golfer played well enough as a rookie to retain his exempt status, moving inside the top 125 with a tie for second in the late-season event in Reno, where he lost in a playoff, and followed with a T10 in Greensboro in the regular season finale.
Vaughn Taylor (114): The Augusta native and resident and former Augusta State golfer regained his PGA Tour status with his win at Pebble Beach in early 2016, and barely finished inside the top 125 in 2017, placing 124th at the end of the regular season. Only missed six cuts, but a T12 in the Wells Fargo, one of four top 20s, was his best finish.
Harris English (118): After four straight excellent seasons, south Georgia native and ex-Bulldog declined significantly in 2016-17, with an early T4 in Las Vegas and a T10 in Memphis his only strong showings. New season did not start any better for the St. Simons resident with a missed cut in Napa.
J.T. Poston (132): St. Simons resident has conditional status after being inside top 100 for most of the season following a solid showing in Los Angeles and on Florida swing. Did not finish better than 40th after early May to fall outside the top 125.
Cameron Tringale (133): Former Georgia Tech golfer played dropped out of top 125 for first time since rookie season of 2010, but regained exempt status in Web.com Finals, tying for fifth in Tour Championship to move into top 25 on Finals money list. Managed three top 10s last season, but fell out of top 125 in final two weeks.
Trey Mullinax (137): Like fellow St. Simons resident Poston, has conditional status after competing as a rookie in 2016-17. Best tournament came in a major, as he was T9 in the U.S. Open. Had three other top 20s, but fell out of top 125 with late slide.
Michael Thompson (148): Was having a respectable season with six top-20 finishes when he was sidelined with an injury with eight weeks left in the season. St. Simons resident has six starts on a medical extension to earn enough FedExCup points to regain his exempt status, but will still have conditional status for the rest of the season if he doesn’t.
Rick Lamb (150): One of four St. Simons residents to finish between 133 and 150, has the last non-exempt spot on tour this season. Did little his rookie season other than a big week in the John Deere, where he tied for third.
Jonathan Byrd (170): After splitting time between the PGA and Web.com Tours the last two seasons, regained exempt status with win in Web.com Tour Championship. A tie for fifth in the John Deere was his best showing in nine PGA Tour starts for the 5-time PGA Tour winner, who has struggled since undergoing wrist surgery in 2013.
Davis Love (185): Long-time St. Simons resident has career exempt status and at the age of 53 is still competitive on the PGA Tour. He closed out the past season with a T10 in Greensboro, and tied for 10th a month later in the Champions Tour event at Pebble Beach, his only start on that tour in 2017 in an individual event.
Bryce Molder (190): An exempt player since 2009, the former Georgia Tech All-American had an awful 2016-17 season, missing 15 of 26 cuts with his best finish a tie for 26th. Will be eligible for a handful of starts off past champions status.
Jason Bohn (206): Long-time Acworth resident suffered a heart attack during Honda Classic in 2016, and hasn’t been the same player since returning to action about six weeks later. Made only nine of 28 cuts last season with a T35 his best finish. Personable two-time PGA Tour winner should get some sponsor invites to help him fill out schedule.
Chesson Hadley (211): Ex-Tech golfer made eight starts last year off past champion status, but is back on the PGA Tour this season after great year on Web.com in 2017. Won two tournaments, including one in the Finals, and lost twice in playoffs, once in a Finals event, to finish as the tour’s leading money winner. Won as a PGA Tour rookie in 2014, but lost status after 2016 season. Started new season with a bang with tie for third in Napa.
Keith Mitchell (n/a): Will be a PGA Tour rookie after strong showing in second season on Web.com Tour. Recent UGA golfer was 26th on the regular season money list, but placed among top 25 in Finals thanks to a strong close. Finished T11, T3 and T6 in the last three tournaments of the regular season and had two more ties for sixth in the Finals. Made one PGA Tour start last season, Monday qualifying in Tampa and tying for 11th.