Three months into the 2014 PGA season, the name of the current money and FEDEX Cup points leader may come as a surprise. The name isn’t Adam Scott, Tiger Woods, or even Phil Mickelson.
The distinction of FEDEX Cup points leader actually belongs to 13-year PGA journeyman Jimmy Walker. Walker’s surprising start to the season comes on the heels of a 2013 season that saw him claim his first runner-up finish in a PGA event after all many years of lingering far back in the pack.
Who is Jimmy Walker?
Walker was born in Oklahoma City, OK on January 16, 1979. He developed his love of the game from his father who was a scratch golfer and showed son Jimmy how the game is played.
Walker cultivated his competitive college game at Baylor University. In 2001, Walker turned professional at the age of 21. Walker is married to wife Erin, with whom he has two children.
After turning pro, Walker headed for the Web.com tour, where he played in a few events each year from 2001-2003. In 2004, he had a breakthrough season on the Web.com tour, during which he won his first professional tournament, the BellSouth Panama Championship in February.
After adding a second victory in March at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, he ended up being recognized as the Web.com 2004 Player of the Year. In 2005, he received his tour card, and began chose to pursue a larger commitment to playing in PGA events.
Walker continued to split his time between the two tours until 2010, when he finally made a full-time commitment to the big tour. Since then, he’s done a fine job making cuts and cashing during several events every year, including his first tour victory in the Frys.com Open in 2013, which qualified him for the Tournament of Champions.
The amazing start to 2014
Still, no one can explain the sudden success that has come to Walker in 2014. The season began with a modest 21st-place finish in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
The following week, he secured the season’s first victory. He shot a solid -17 to claim his second PGA trophy in the Sony Open in Hawaii. After missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, he came back strong with his second trophy of the season at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
In his last three tournaments, Walker has finished 20th, 17th, and 25th, respectively.
As he heads out in his golf cart to tee off, Walker has earned $3,861,680 to lead the tour. More importantly, he has already accumulated 1,872 FEDEX Cup points as he aims to qualify for the year-ending FEDEX tournaments.
He will be heading into his very first Masters Tournaments in April as one of the players to keep an eye on, even though he remains a dark horse. Walker will surely be excited, because this will be only the third major he has ever played.
With a current scoring average of 69.833, he might just be ready for his first green jacket.