Since 2008, the selection of player of the year has been debated very heavily. It was so easy from 1999 to 2006 to pick Tiger because he was winning at a pace we have never seen before. He would tee it up fifteen times a season, win six times and at least one would be a major. We got so comfortable picking Tiger as the player of the year we now hold each player's season to those glory years of Tiger.
The 2013 Player of the Year will be quite a debate. At the time of writing this article Tiger has won five PGA Tour events and he may even pick up another one to two during the FedExCup playoffs. Wins at two WGC events in Doral and Akron, and a win at the unofficial fifth major The Players Championship, means at biggest events not designated as majors Tiger was unbelievably dominant. No debate right?
With his win at the Barclay's last week, Adam Scott says "not so fast my friend."
The real question as the center of the debate is how much additional value does a major championship hold over traditional PGA Tour events? Adam Scott has some pointed comments earlier in the week before his victory saying that a major should count for more than five non-major events. The point I think Scott is trying to make is that shouldn't the majors, especially wins at majors, count as more than regular season events? This is an interesting point because if we asked Tiger without the press around would he trade his five victories for a major I am fairly certain the answer would be yes. Tiger was the one who made all of us golfers care more about the majors. He said that was his season would be focused around, winning majors. So if he doesn't win one, is he player of the year?
The candidate list for Player of Year is not all that long. Of course Tiger will be at the top of most people's lists because his non-major win list would make the career of 99.8% of all the PGA Tour golfers that ever existed. The other candidates are Adam Scott, who won the Masters and had a lead at some point in all of the 2013 majors, and now a FedExCup Playoff win. Phil Mickelson, the British Open winner along with a win in Phoenix earlier in the year, also makes the short list, although in my opinion Phil needs to win the FedExCup to take away from Tiger's season. So the only true contender to Tiger is Adam Scott.
In my opinion that is all that Adam Scott is, a contender. Tiger is the clear Player of the Year. Two WGC events and a Players Championship weighs more than Adam's green jacket, a number of close calls and a FedExCup Playoff win at the Barclay's. I don't agree with Adam that one major equals five wins, maybe five Wyndam Championships, but not WGC events and the Players Championship with the best players in the world teeing it up at those events. Tiger's season trumps Adam's.
Now if Adam were to win the FedExCup trophy, I might have to re-think my analysis. Winning the FedExCup most likely would mean that Adam would have a few high finishes in the remaining playoff events and then winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Winning the Tour Championship for either Tiger or Adam and that would for certain seal the deal. If neither player wins again for the rest of the year I am going to give the player of the year award to Tiger.
Adam Scott has had a fantastic year, and most of the last five years I would have voted for his type of season. But The Players Championship and two WGC events are too tough to overlook. If there were a fifth major it would be The Players and if there a sixth and seventh major the two WGC events would slot into those spots because of the strength of the field at those events just as it is in the majors.
I think the nice part of this debate is that it truly makes the FedExCup playoffs and extremely meaningful set of events to end the year. The player of the year honors hang in the balance and to the winner of the playoffs will go the spoils. Adam was on the outside looking in but with his win at the first playoff event he is now squarely in the conversation. If he wins another playoff event I would have to really re-think what I said. If Phil wins the FedExCup he all of a sudden becomes the leader in the clubhouse for player of the year honors. I for one think the PGA Tour now has the best storyline set for the playoffs; I will be interested to see how it plays out.
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