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Who will make The Leap on the PGA Tour this season?

Seventeen days, 16 hours and, oh, about 20 minutes or so.

That's how long it will have been between the last PGA Tour season coming to a close and the next one starting, which will happen at the Frys.com Open, beginning this Thursday.

During that time, there was only the Presidents Cup and a full slate of European Tour and LPGA tourneys to hold our collective golfing interests. I'm just glad we all made it through this harrowing time.

All joking aside, even though those other tours are still finishing up their seasons, the PGA Tour's 47-event campaign will indeed get underway this week, which seems like a perfect time to address which players will make The Leap.

This is my annual column predicting those who will jump in status at some point over the next year -- and just like the game itself, there are a few rules by which we must abide.

Jordan Spieth winning a major? Not a Leap, because he has done that already. Jason Day reaching the No. 1 spot in the world? Same thing.

Instead, here are 10 players who will make The Leap into a new category over the next 12 months. Some you'll know, others might come as a surprise.

Rickie Fowler
The Leap: Major championship winner

Annual readers of this column (you're out there somewhere, right?) might recall this isn't the first time I've predicted Fowler to win a big one -- and if he doesn't do it this time, it probably won't be the last, either. That's because he has got not only the right game to win multiple majors, but the right mentality, too. Fowler thrives in high-pressure situations. That isn't just some rhetoric: In each of his three wins this year, his drive on the final hole was easily his longest of the week. You can take the adrenaline junkie out of the extreme sports, but you can't take away his adrenaline. While some players wilt under the big-time spotlight, Fowler focuses his energies better. There's never a bigger spotlight than the four majors, which means that at some point, soon, it will translate into his first major victory.

Matthew Fitzpatrick
The Leap: Top 20 in the world

This one is almost too easy. Fresh off a British Masters win to vault inside the top 100 for the first time (he's currently 59th), Fitzpatrick leads the European Tour in top-3 results this season -- and he's a year younger than Jordan Spieth. When I tweeted Sunday that Fitzpatrick owns a brilliant short game (basing that idea on what I'd seen with my own eyes in his limited U.S. appearances), British colleague Ben Coley rightfully informed me that he has been succeeding more with ball-striking than chipping and putting. That just means there's still room for improvement -- and when he does, the former U.S. Amateur champion is going to be among the game's elite.

Will Wilcox
The Leap: Top 50 in the world

One of the easiest statistical ways of measuring overall proficiency is the PGA Tour's all-around category, which totals players' rankings in driving, ball-striking and putting. Case in point: Last season, Jason Day was No. 1 on this list; Jordan Spieth ranked third. Checking in at No. 2 might come as a surprise, but Wilcox clearly checks all the boxes in what it takes to compete at the highest level. It can be argued whether a player without any weaknesses holds a decided advantage over a player with one elite strength, but it's difficult to argue that such a thorough game, top-to-bottom, won't result in some more impressive performances going forward.

Brooks Koepka
The Leap: U.S. Ryder Cup qualifier

Go ahead, call him a snub. Koepka didn't qualify for this year's Presidents Cup team, then watched as he wasn't just passed over for the two captain's picks, but also ignored when J.B. Holmes was named an injury replacement for Jim Furyk, leaving the adoring golf blogosphere in a rage. No worries, though. That might have worked out for Jay Haas' team in the long run, but future captains won't have that decision to make. Koepka is currently ranked 12th in the world. He has already won on the PGA and European tours; he has already contended at major championships. At 25, he's only going to keep progressing -- all of which means he'll likely be a lock for Hazeltine by the middle of next summer.

Thomas Pieters
The Leap: European Ryder Cup qualifier

If there's a European equivalent to Koepka -- big hitter with the swagger to match -- it's Pieters, who recently broke through with back-to-back wins on the overseas tour. A product of the University of Illinois, his game recalls that of Nicolas Colsaerts, the original Belgian Bomber, who was a Ryder Cup darling the last time it was contested stateside. There's going to be some turnover to the aging core of this team with Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett and Thorbjorn Olesen also capable of making Darren Clarke's roster. Pieters already ranks seventh and ninth, respectively, on the two qualifying lists. Expect him to keep making a charge as the qualifying date approaches 11 months from now.

Harris English
The Leap: Multiple PGA Tour winner

This one needs a little explaining, as keen observers might have noted that English already owns multiple PGA Tour victories. But it's my prediction that he'll win multiple titles during the upcoming season, doubling his career total from two to four. After seven top-10s during the 2013-14 campaign, his final tally of three last season pales in comparison, but he became more consistent, making more cuts and essentially giving himself more chances. English already knows how to win. Expect him to parlay those experiences into a few more trophies on the mantle over the next year.

Ryo Ishikawa
The Leap: PGA Tour winner

I was going to pick second-year player Justin Thomas to make this leap, but that would be too easy. It's going to happen -- maybe before the calendar switches over to 2016. Instead, I'm going out on a thinner limb with Ishikawa. Even in other sports, a 24-year-old underachiever could be prematurely labeled as a bust, but in golf, offering that distinction is a laughable offense.

Instead, look at it this way: With four full PGA Tour seasons under his belt, Ishikawa has now completed his undergrad. Now it's time to go to work. In 28 starts last season, he made the cut 17 times and had five top-10 results. Those are good numbers, but they'll pale in comparison to what he'll do in coming years. Already a superstar in his native Japan, the pressure might be off Ishikawa a bit, as countryman Hideki Matsuyama has stolen some of that focus. As Ishikawa filled into his 5-foot-9 frame and becomes accustomed to the courses and travel here in a foreign land, it's now time for the "bust" to bust into the winner's circle.

Patrick Rodgers
The Leap: Top 50 on PGA Tour money list

Rodgers was the unfortunate victim of an ugly Catch-22 this past season. Even though he finished inside the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list, as an original non-member, he didn't qualify for the playoffs; and yet, because he was top 125, he similarly wasn't allowed to compete in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals, either. He won't be stuck in no-man's land this season, as the Stanford product will own full-time PGA Tour privileges. He has grown up competing against guys such as Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, so don't expect any starry-eyed glances up and down the range. It might be a few years until he reaches true superstar potential, but top 50 feels about right for this season.

Brendan Steele
The Leap: Tour Championship competitor

It's a little-known secret to fans, but the pros are well aware of the domino effect that comes with reaching the 30-man field at East Lake Golf Club each year. Just getting into the season finale assures inclusion in the next year's first three majors and first WGC event. Steele hasn't been there before, though he has been knocking on the door. He posted four top-10s this past season and got stronger as the summer progressed, closing with three results of 13th or better in his final five starts. Another finishing kick like that should vault him into the Tour Championship -- and with it, all the spoils for the following year.

Bernd Wiesberger
The Leap: Major championship contender

We've seen plenty of players like Wiesberger over the years. When his game is off, he looks pretty average -- and it shows in the results. When he's on, though, he can look like a world-beater, which explains his seven career professional wins already at the age of 30. The truth is, Wiesberger sort of contended at last year's PGA Championship, only to drop into a share of 15th place with a final-round 74. He'll fare better the next time he's in that situation -- and at 27th in the world, he should get four chances to be in that situation this coming year.