September 16, 2012
McIlroy should win player of the year
By QMI Agency
Those who wish to make some insightful comparison of golf to the rest of society will point out that the top one per cent (estimated) of the PGA Tour are looking for even more, a $10-million grab with the FedEx Cup champion to be determined this week in Atlanta.
This isn’t Occupy Golf, however. It’s the Tour Championship, the final leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are one-two, respectively, in about everything that matters, including playoff points, money list and world rankings.
It’s an odd and recent turn of events that brings us to this point.
Not long ago, McIlroy was struggling, with his critics saying he was enjoying the high life too much or spending too much time with girlfriend and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
While he wasn’t winning much in the summer, his nine top-10s this season indicate some level of consistency, but more is expected of McIlroy, who remedied the situation by winning three of his last four events.
While McIlroy struggled, if that’s the correct term, the T-Nation was consoled with the fact that Tiger Woods was “back.” Whatever that means, the struggles and frustrations of the past few years in Tiger’s kingdom were eased by the three wins he’s built to this point.
If Tiger is indeed “back” — and none of those three wins this year include a major, which his his definition of success — he still has his work cut out for him with the emergence of McIlroy.
Still, let’s give Tiger the benefit of the doubt and assume he wins this week’s Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. That would give him four wins this year, tying him with McIlroy, and a title the tour is determined to make prestigious in the eyes of its followers.
Would that be enough to make Woods Player of the Year in the minds of his peers who cast their ballots for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, an award he’s won 10 times, his last coming in 2009?
The short answer is no.
All things being equal, and they are about equal, the question boils down to what means more, a major or the FedEx Cup?
McIlroy’s dominating performance at the PGA Championship will be the difference-maker for players who, in their own minds, still believe a major is the ultimate win. It’s tough to battle traditional mindset, despite the hype of the FedEx Cup.
Just a couple of months ago, it didn’t seem that we’d be having this conversation, but look for McIlroy to be named PGA Tour Player of the Year for the first time. Not winning the FedEx Cup won’t change that and winning would only strengthen his case.
NO REPEAT THIS YEAR
Woods was the last repeat winner of the Jack Nicklaus Trophy. He took it three consecutive years from 2005-2007 after winning it four straight years from 2000-2003. Luke Donald won it last year ... Phil Mickelson still has a shot at the FedEx Cup after recording scores in the 60s in seven of his last eight rounds, with much of the credit being handed to the new claw putting grip he put into use back at the Barclays. Since then Mickelson has tied for fourth at the Deutsche Bank and tied for second at the BMW Championship. If his putting prowess continues at the Tour Championship, it will be his suspect play off the tee that makes or breaks Mickelson ... Here’s why it doesn’t really matter that the CN Canadian Women’s Open didn’t get the major status it deserves on the LPGA Tour. The Women’s British Open at Hoylake is moved to September to avoid a conflict with the Olympics. The second round gets blown away by bad weather, players who went out early have their scores voided and play resumes Saturday. The cut is reduced from 65 plus ties to 50 plus ties and the final two rounds are played on Sunday. Few, at least on this side of the ocean, even noticed on a weekend in which the PGA Tour was quiet. Imagine the attention if that happened at the men’s British Open?
SNAPSHOTS OF CANADIAN GOLF
The National Allied Golf Associations is a group that includes Golf Canada, the PGA of Canada and groups representing owners, superintendents, club managers and other associations within the golf industry. It recently unveiled a national survey of over 1,300 respondents in a Canadian Golf Consumer Behaviour Study. It offered the following snapshots of the game in this country ... Among the population of approximately 5.7 million golfers, the number of people entering the game is equal to the number of people leaving the game ... Among the population of golfers, the number of those playing fewer rounds (38 per cent) is greater than the number of golfers playing more rounds (14 per cent) ... There are fewer golfers today with either a child or a related junior playing the game than golfers who entered the game at that same age demographic ... Seventeen per cent of today’s golfers took up the game as a child while only seven per cent of today’s golfers have a child who plays ... The majority of rounds are being played by less than 26 per cent of golfers (approximately 1.5-million people) ... There is a limited interest in the sport outside of those who already participate in the game.