Birthdate: February 15th, 1984
Birthplace: Aiken S.C.
Resides: Aiken S.C.
College: University of Georgia
Turned professional: 2006
2015-2016 FedEx Cup Rank: 11th
Professional Wins: 7 (PGA Tour 2015 RSM Classic, 2013 Web.com Tour Chile Classic, 2010 Nationwide Tour Mylan Classic)
Honors & Accolades: N/A
Driving & Putting: Kisner has both aspects of the old adage “drive for show, putt for dough” covered. Last year, Kisner ranked 40th in strokes gained: off-the-tee and 3rd in strokes gained: putting. These are strong indicators as to why Kisner is such a consistent player on tour. He keeps the ball in play and putts well, a recipe for success.
Areas for Improvement
Approaching shots and short game: Where Kisner stands to improve the most is approaching and around the greens, where he ranked 137th and 173rd in the strokes gained category for each in 2016. Kisner’s 2015-2016 wasn’t quite as good as his 2014-2015 year, and much of the blame should go to these two categories, which slipped from 80th and 125th the year prior. If Kisner can regain his 2014-2015 form on his approach shots and short game, I would expect him to return to being one of the 20 best players in the world.
A look at Kevin Kisner’s Swing
Kisner has a swing that is synced up very well, thus his consistent ball striking.
As you can see from this video, his footwork is outstanding. Everything is a result of a great rotation. He loads up going back and transitions his weight to his left side early in the downswing, which allows him to rotate as fast as he wants. Very few moving parts in this swing, but it took him lots of work to build it.
2016-2017 Season Outlook
Kevin Kisner will look to bounce back from a slightly disappointing 2015-2016 campaign, that saw the pro’s world ranking slip from 17th at the end of 2015 to 40th at the time of this article. Kisner looks to build off of a strong finish to 2016, making the cut in his final 12 events of the year with 3 top-25 finishes. I expect to see Kisner return to his spectacular 2015 form in 2017.
Amateur and Collegiate Years
After leading his high school to two state titles, Kevin Kisner took his talents to University of Georgia where he was an honorable mention All-American all 4 years of his career. His junior season, the Bulldogs won the national championship with PGA Tour players Kisner, Brendan Todd and Chris Kirk. As an amateur, Kisner never had a “breakthrough win” at a big-time amateur event but did have very good finishes at both the Western Amateur, making match play in ‘04, and the U.S. Amateur, making the round of 32 in ‘04.
Life on the mini tours (‘06-’09)
Following his senior season at Georgia, Kevin Kisner turned professional and didn’t have the high-profile resume that grants endless sponsors exemptions that many phenoms have and instead had to hit the mini-tours. Kisner opted to play at home in the Carolinas on the Hooters and Tarheel Tours. Over his three years on these tours, Kisner won 3 times and earned valuable competitive chops and professional experience.
Establishing a place on Tour (‘09-’13)
At the end of 2009, Kevin Kisner made the final stage of the PGA Tour Q-School and was in excellent position to earn his card, but a final-round 71 left him in a tie for 26th place, one shot outside the top 25 who earned their PGA Tour cards.
Although Kisner missed out on the PGA Tour, his Q-School performance earned him full status on the Nationwide Tour for the 2010 season. Kisner rode the momentum and put together a great year, which included a win at the 2010 Mylan Classic, a second-place finish, and four other top-10 finishes, ending up 11th on the season-long money list and earning his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season.
Kisner moved up to the big stage of the PGA Tour and, like many rookies, struggled during his first season. He was only able to earn $270,000 in his 24 starts, with his best finish coming at the season finale Children's Miracle Network Classic, a t11th. Kevin Kisner’s tough season put him at 181st on the money list and earned him a trip back to PGA Tour Q-School. Kisner was able to play well. He finished in a tie for 11th, followed by another season on the PGA Tour in 2012.
Kisner improved a little bit in 2012, registering three top-25 finishes for the season, but he struggled down the stretch, missing the cut in his final four PGA Tour starts. He ended the season in 168th place on the Money List after earning $346,216 in 24 starts and once again headed back to Q-School, this time after four straight missed cuts. At Q-School, Kisner performed well but again missed his card by one shot, forcing him to head back to the newly named Web.com Tour (formerly Nationwide) for 2013.
The former Georgia star’s second season on the Web.com was much like his first. Kisner registered a win at the Chile Classic and later a third and sixth-place finish. The strong season placed him at 13th on the money list and bound for the PGA Tour.
The emergence (‘14-present)
After his 2013 season on the Web.com Tour, Kisner was able break through and retain his card. It wasn’t a certainty that Kisner would keep it, but the now 3rd-year PGA Tour player put together back-to-back top 10’s in the final two events to make the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings, making the playoffs and ensuring his spot on Tour for the 2014-2015 season.
With his confidence high, Kisner had his breakout season in 2014-2015, getting off to a hot start finishing tied for 4th at the The McGladrey Classic during the fall series. The calendar turned to 2015 and Kisner ascended to an elite player, finishing runner-up 3 times at some high profile events, including the Players Championship. Heading into 2016, Kisner finally earned his first PGA Tour win at the RSM Classic. Over the course of 2015, Kisner’s play vaulted him from 236th in the world rankings to 17th.
2016 ushered in quite the change for Kisner, who was now tabbed as a star of the tour. Kisner didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations but still put forth a strong season, finishing 11th in the FedEx Cup standings and assuring himself starts in all 4 major championships and WGC Events in the 2016-2017 season.