Donald deserves nod for PGA player of year

Luke Donald chips to the 16th green during the fourth round of the Madrid Masters in Alcala de...

Luke Donald chips to the 16th green during the fourth round of the Madrid Masters in Alcala de Henares near Madrid, Oct. 9, 2011. (JUAN MEDINA/Reuters)

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:09 AM ET

TORONTO - If there’s one thing golf does extremely well, it’s confuse its fans by requiring a calculator, a slide rule and a mathematician to solve the complexities and mysteries of the world golf rankings and FedEx Cup points standings.

In the case of the latter, be comforted by the fact that the geniuses at the PGA Tour who come up with this difficult system are just as dumfounded about why fans aren’t taking more of an interest in the FedEx Cup, so confusion reigns on either side of the equation.

Just as difficult to figure out this year is who will be named player of the year — and no Tiger cubs, it can’t automatically be given to Tiger Woods like his spot on the Presidents Cup team, although I’m sure some of you will throw a hissy fit when he doesn’t get it.

Unlike Tiger when he was deserving of such titles, no dominant player has emerged in 2011. Some call that parity, some call it boring.

Of the four major champions this year, only Keegan Bradley was victorious outside of his PGA Championship, that win coming at the Byron Nelson Championship. However, when he wasn’t on his game, Bradley was busy missing a lot of cuts, 10 as of last week.

Still, he had 10 top-10 finishes and being named player of the year would be consolation and justice for Bradley after being thrown under the bus in favour of Woods for the Presidents Cup team. But right now, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Webb Simpson has a couple of wins at the Wyndham Championship and Deutsche Bank and two runner-up finishes among his 10 top-10 finishes as of last week, when he’d only missed the cut in three of 24 events.

At the age of 26, Simpson is an American hope in an era of international stars, but in the present, he was second on the money list and scoring average (69.34) and tied for second in top 10s as of last week.

In about every stat in which Simpson was second, Luke Donald was the leader, including top 10s (13), money and scoring average (68.86), as of last week.

With five top-five finishes, Donald trailed Simpson in one important category — wins. He won just once, albeit a dominating one at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Oddly enough, Donald beat Martin Kaymer, ranked No. 1 in the world at the time in the final and would move on to assume that title at the end of May.

In an era in which that title looked to be up for grabs among a multitude of players, Donald has held on to it ever since, but he’s still missing that cherished major championship on his resume.

A case could also be made for Steve Stricker, who won the Memorial and John Deere Classic and had five top 10s as of last week, or Bill Haas, who won the Tour Championship/FedEx Cup, and had seven top 10s along with the shot of the year.

It remains to be seen and it won’t be an easy choice, but for no other reason than consistency, Donald is likely the man.

Consistency is the operative word over domination and excitement on the PGA Tour these days.

INSPIRATION FOR WEIR

If Mike Weir is looking for inspiration in his comeback, he need look no further than 2008 RBC Canadian Open champ Chez Reavie, who came into this season on a major medical exemption after knee surgery in 2010. Reavie didn’t earn enough in 13 events to be fully exempt, but with past champion status, he finished second in a playoff to Simpson at the Deutsche Bank Championship. That was one of three top 10s for Reavie over a stretch of five tournaments as the season wound down and he earned a spot in the Tour Championship, where he tied for 26th ... Belleville’s Jon Mills broke his string of eight consecutive missed cuts a few weeks ago in Boise, but he still has a long way to go to get into the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list. Those 25 get their PGA cards. Mills, who had a tie for second in June, stood 60th last week. Three events remain on the 2011 schedule ... Former Canadian national men’s coach Henry Brunton will be inducted into the North Grenville Sports Hall of Fame next month in Kemptville, Ont. ... Cabot Links in Inverness, N.S., will be the only significant Canadian golf course to open in the next few years when it officially opens in 2012. I had a chance to play it last week and it lives up to its hype ... With the rest of the world focused on Tiger at Fall Series event, Rickie Fowler, another young guy who was overlooked for the American Presidents Cup team, quietly earned his first professional win at the OneAsia Tour’s Korea Open, including one round of 63, to finish ahead of Rory McIlroy and Y.E. Yang, among others. Just saying.


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