Number crunching 2010: 5 to watch, 5 newbies

Bo Van Pelt has been working with Phil Rodgers since 2009.

Bo Van Pelt has been working with Phil Rodgers since 2009.

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Our annual number-crunching package looks at players who made significant moves – up or down – during the past year in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

"5 players who will surprise you"

Bo Van Pelt

Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index

Started 2010: #166

Ended 2010: #18

There were some who thought Bo Van Pelt should have been selected to represent the USA in the Ryder Cup. Van Pelt, who ranked seventh in the PGA Tour’s all-around statistical ranking, placed in the top 10 in almost 30 percent of his starts. Expect to hear a lot more from Van Pelt in 2011.

•••

Ben Crane

Started 2010: #41

Ended 2010: #23

How many times did Ben Crane win last year? Did you say two? If you did, you'd be correct. Crane won the Farmers Insurance Open in January and the Asia Pacific Classic in October. Crane is often talked about when discussing best players, but signs point towards him being in the winner’s circle more often. Last year he posted 13 top 25s and ranked 7th on the PGA Tour in final round scoring average.

•••

Spencer Levin

Started 2010: #260

Ended 2010: #68

Spencer Levin is one of the PGA's best under 30. After finishing No. 141 on the PGA Tour money list in 2009, he safely returns to the 2011 season after ranking No. 74 on the money list. Levin made 24 cuts in 31 starts this past year with just three top 10s – look for the number to improve.

•••

Steve Elkington

Started 2010: #228

Ended 2010: #71

Steve Elkington once flirted with being one of the top players in the world, but those days seem long ago. However, don’t be surprised if you see Elkington’s name more often this next season. Elkington, 48, made 15 of 22 cuts on the PGA Tour last year (including a top five finish at the PGA Championship) and may be primed for a few more good Sunday finishes.

•••

Chris Kirk

Started 2010: #714

Ended 2010: #71

Chris Kirk, who finished No. 2 on the Nationwide Tour money list and will play full-time on the PGA Tour in 2011, made the biggest move in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index in 2010. Kirk had seven top 10s and a victory at the Fort Smith Classic in 2010. Look for the former Georgia All-American to ride the momentum of this past season into the new year.

•••

"5 players you may hear about this year that you don't know of . . ."

Kyung-Tae Kim

Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: #27

Kyung-Tae Kim made the cut at the British Open and the PGA Championship – his only two starts in 2010 majors. Kim, who posted 20 top 20s (in 21 starts) on the Japan Tour last year, has an Official World Ranking of No. 28, which will help him improve his schedule dramatically in 2011.

•••

Joost Luiten

Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: #43

Playing the majority of his season on the European PGA Tour, Luiten missed just two cuts in 25 worldwide starts this past year. Luiten, who did not win, did record six top 10 finishes and finished No. 28 on the European Tour’s Order of Merit.

•••

Adam Hadwin

Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: #64

Hadwin, a former standout player at the University of Louisville, only played in 10 events during the 2010 season. But he managed to make the cut in all 10 and finished No. 2 on the Canadian Tour’s Order of Merit. Hadwin also made one start on the PGA Tour (Canadian Open, T37th) and Nationwide Tour (Gretzky Classic, T27th).

•••

Sang-Moon Bae

Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: #103

Sang-Moon Bae may be the next big name player from Japan. He has status on the 2011 Nationwide Tour after he tied for 50th at PGA Tour Q-School. Last year he played the Japan Tour placing in the top 10 in six of 11 starts.

•••

Fabian Gomez

Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: #109

Gomez earned his way onto the PGA Tour after finishing 12th on the Nationwide Tour money list. He made 21 cuts in 26 starts in 2010. Look for Gomez to be a Nationwide grad you hear about next year.

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