Monday, 26 August 2013

Debating Player of the Year?

    Coming on the heels of Tiger’s back problems and Adam Scott’s win at the Barclay’s Sunday the conversation for Player of the year has truly started to heat up. When is five wins not enough? Well when your name is Tiger Woods, as the PGA tour playoffs have stated the FedEx Cup winner may determine POY as well. And conventional wisdom says Tiger is the front runner. He’s currently leading the tour in more categories then I’m willing to list but here are the highlights; FedEx Cup pts., scoring avg., all-around ranking (an avg. of 8 stats), the money list and wins. But because Tiger is no longer compared to his peers and is judged solely on his performances in Majors, which is why we’re having this debate. Yes Tiger didn’t win a 15th major this year, but he did win The Players, 2 WGC events, The Farmers Insurance Open and Arnold Palmer’s Invitational. All of which have strong international fields and in the case of the Player’s which some call a fifth major is promoted as “the strongest field in golf”.

    Obviously Tiger’s year is better than any of the other major winners Phil being the front runner as he’s won twice on tour including The Open Championship. He also won the Scottish Open on the European tour and that doesn't count towards any rankings in the US. Adam Scott winner of the Master’s in April was in contention at The Open and was in contention early at the PGA Championship, now he can add a playoff win. Justin Rose he won the US Open his first major and is having a career year. The one stat that sticks out to me, he’s played 13 events and has 10 top 25's, with 5 top 5's and a 2nd place finish. Then you have Jason Dufner who won the last major of the year and although it was impressive he was having a slow year prior to his first major. He’s currently 15th in the FedEx Cup standing and has just 7 top 25's in his 18 events this year. These four are having great years and majors are valued more than a normal tour win. But in my opinion for any one of the current major title holders to win Player of The Year, they’ll need to win the FedEx Cup as well. 

    This isn't just my humble opinion this week at The Barclay's a few players we’re asked the question who is the player of the year? Most notably Adam Scott when asked answered “Tiger”. When asked if he would trade years with Woods? Scott replied “He may want mine. I mean No.15 is proving to be difficult for him, so that would have given him that.” At the heart of this conversation is Tiger’s own expectations it’s be documented and reported for years he’s chasing history Jack Nicklaus widely consider the greatest golfer of all time won 18 majors. Tiger currently stuck on No.14 hasn't won a major since 2008, and when asked for the last 5 years has said he doesn't consider a year great unless it includes a major. Those are Tiger expectations his goals have far exceed what anyone has thought possible, case in point is the all-time PGA tour victory record held by Sam Snead who 82 events over 29 years in 4 separate decades. Tiger as of the 2013 Barclay’s has 79 wins over 17 year and we all know about the multiple breaks he taken from the game because of injury and the scandal, that say he could break Snead’s record before the 2014 Master’s and the first major of the year. He’s won so much over a short period of time we've all been spoiled by the greatest that is Tiger Woods; Wikipedia has a page just for his achievements .

   Now it is mostly the media which questions the value of Tiger’s year this peers and other tour players all see him as the POY of the year sans the major. Bill Haas (2011 FedEx Cup champion) had these comments when asked if he felt Tiger was POY? Haas said “His lack of winning a major is the only thing talked about, which I think is sad, I think it’s ignorant. There’s five wins this year… but (not winning a major) is what we’re basing his year on” and that sentiment seems to be shared in the locker room across the tour and it’s the player who vote for POY not the media. The best thing Tiger can do to end the debate of his failure in the major season would be to win the year’s biggest prize in the FedEx Cup and the 10 million dollar bonus that goes with it. Maybe then Nike can reuse a controversial ad campaign  from earlier in the year!


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