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September 28, 2013

Woods the only choice for PGA Tour Player of the Year

Tiger Woods is the PGA Tour's Player of the Year, as voted by the players.

Was there really any other choice?

In the weeks leading up to Friday's announcement, writers, broadcasters and others who follow golf made arguments for other players to win the award -- predominantly Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott.

It's interesting to see how the reverence for Woods has changed over the past several years. Where there was a time Woods always received the benefit of the doubt because of his history of dominance, record and reputation, it seems like many are trying to discredit his current accomplishments since his fall from grace with his infidelity scandal.

Woods had three more wins on the PGA Tour than any other player with five, is ranked No. 1 in the world and has been most of the year, had the lowest aggregate scoring average on tour, and won more money than anyone else on tour by more than $2 million with more than $8.55 million in earnings.

Where is the argument?

By Woods' standards, he may have underachieved because he puts an extreme emphasis on major championships and he didn't win one, though he had a fair major season by anyone else's standards with a pair of top-six finishes and made cuts in all four.

Had someone won two majors this year, the case could have been made that those would supersede Woods' five wins. But no one did.

Scott won twice – a major in the Masters and a playoff event in the Barclays – and had two third-place finishes.

Mickelson won twice, including a major in the British Open, nearly won the U.S. Open, which was one of his two runner-up finishes, and also had two third-place finishes. He also won the Scottish Open in a playoff with a tremendous shot, but that’s worth just one win and it probably doesn’t carry the same weight as any of Woods’ triumphs.

Matt Kuchar won twice and had a pair of runner-ups, and Henrik Stenson won two of the final three events of the year and the FedEx Cup title, had three runner-up finishes, and a runner-up and third in majors while finishing inside the top 21 in all four.

All great seasons, and the decision would have been incredibly difficult if those were the four leading candidates. But could you really compare them in good conscience with Woods’ 2013 season?

Woods' five wins came in just 16 starts, and he doesn’t enter any also-ran tournaments. Two of his wins were World Golf Championship events, he conquered TPC Sawgrass at The Players Championship, and he won the Arnold Palmer Championship at Bay Hill and Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. The five events always have the majority of the world’s top players.

He will enter the 2014 season with 79 career PGA Tour victories, which is three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time tour record of 82.

At least Woods' peers recognized he was the clear-cut choice. Woods, 37, was voted the Player of the Year for a record 11th time in his career.

PGA Tour members who played in at least 12 official money events in 2013 were eligible to vote following the conclusion of the Tour Championship on Sunday. Voting ended Thursday.


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