Blog Entry

PGA Tour top-player ballot gets a 'nay' vote

Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:19 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – They took another two weeks to flesh out the season and this was the best the PGA Tour could do with regard to its top honor?

After an embarrassing scheduling mistake precipitated the delaying of ballot distribution for the 2011 Player of the Year until this week, the nominees were finally announced Wednesday.

As it turns out, maybe they needed more time.

The ballot lists five candidates and a brief thumbnail bio of each’s 2011 accomplishments. The ballots, mailed this week to tour members and due back by Dec. 9, isn’t notable for what’s included, but rather, what isn’t.

Three players – Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson and Mark Wilson – are not mentioned among those listed on the ballot.

Each of the trio won twice this season. In all, seven players won twice in 2011 on the U.S. tour, and nobody won thrice. Yet, while the threesome was omitted, Bill Haas was included, even though he won only once, against the smallest field of the year.

Haas won the 30-player FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta in a playoff, his lone victory of the season. Presumably, a certain company based in Memphis will be happy.

Sure, the race is realistically a three-horse affair with world No. 1 Luke Donald, major winner Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, who had a breakout season, but would it have hurt to list all seven of the guys who won twice this season?

The tour said the nominees were determined by the player-members of the tour Policy Board and Player Advisory Council. PAC member Ben Crane said Wednesday that he did not recall specifically discussing the ballot issue.

“I agree that we needed Mark, Bubba and Stricker on there,” Crane said.

The tour can surely afford the paper and postage.

Here’s the full alphabetical listing of nominees and their performance thumbnails as distributed by tour brass Wednesday:

Keegan Bradley
Entered 29 events during the 2011 season featuring playoff victories at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship.  Four top-10 finishes.  Ranked 20th on the final FedEx Cup points list and 13th on the money list with $3,758,600.

Luke Donald
Entered 19 events during the 2011 season featuring victories at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.  Led the tour with 14 top-10 finishes including a playoff loss at The Heritage. Ranked third on the final FedEx Cup points list and topped money list with $6,683,214, earning the Arnold Palmer Award. Earned Byron Nelson Award and Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average.

Bill Haas
Entered 27 events during the 2011 season featuring a victory at the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola that clinched the overall FedEx Cup title. Seven top-10 finishes including playoff losses at the Bob Hope Classic and Greenbrier Classic. Ranked first on the FedEx Cup points list and seventh on money list with $4,088,637.

Webb Simpson
Entered 26 events during the 2011 season, featuring victories at Wyndham Championship and a playoff victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Twelve top-10 finishes including playoff losses at the Zurich Classic and The McGladrey Classic. Ranked second on the FedEx Cup points list and second on money list with $6,347,353.

Nick Watney
Entered 23 events during the 2011 season featuring victories at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the AT&T National. Had a total of 10 top-10 finishes. Ranked ninth on the final FedEx Cup points list and finished third on the money list with $5,290,673.

Category: Golf

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:29 am

PGA Tour top-player ballot gets a 'nay' vote

Hard to get past Luke Donald as he's clearly had a phenomenal year. But so did Keegan Bradley and most assuredly Webb Simpson. In this case I grudgingly award POTY to Luke Donald with more Top 10's, more money and a Playoff loss along with 2 wins. Can't consider what happened in Europe as this is the American PGA Tour award.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:18 am

Ty Votaw gets my 'nay' vote

This really should be cut and dried, but there is too much politicking going on behind the scenes.  As much as I detest having our hats handed to us by international players on a regular basis, any winner other than Luke Donald should just decline the award in the interest of fair play.  The pressure of an award that everyone knows a player didn't deserve would almost guarantee a terrible season next year.
The tour needs a healthy Tiger Woods back to single-handedly skewer the results in our favor until we can develop someone, anyone, who can stand with the best in the world and not blink.  The US is developing a lot of depth and a lot of players with potential, but they all have to have more then one or two good years, and they have to deliver on the grandest stages in the sport: major tournaments.
So far, of the young guys, only Keegan Bradley can say he has won a major.  Everyone else still has "potential."   

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:45 pm

PGA Tour top-player ballot gets a 'nay' vote

gwbram: True, but if you were to take a clear leader like Donald out it, now you're left with basically a popularity contest. Any one of the remaining candidates could win it, and it wouldn't be all that clear why. It might come down to "everyone likes Jay Haas, so I'm going to vote for his kid" or something equally stupid. Remember these are golfers, at the end of a long season, known for having the attention span of a house fly. Golfers like Freddie Couples, Dustin Johnson, Boob Weekely (who got two playing partners DQ'd because he couldn't add up their score cards correctly). The selection needs to be automatic, and Donald would certainly win in that case.

Since: Dec 30, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:13 pm

PGA Tour top-player ballot gets a 'nay' vote

In all honesty, it would be convoluted to devise a rational for naming
anyone else but Luke Donald as the player of the year. He leads in almost
every catagory with 1/3 fewer starts.  Its a no brainer if you give him any
credit for what he accoplished in Europe as well. They might as well have
sent the ballot out with his name only on it.  If its not unanimous then
those not naming him should have their voting privileges looked into.

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:04 pm

PGA Tour top-player ballot gets a 'nay' vote

When the season is finally over, they should scrap the voting process entirely and award POTY automatically according to some well-defined scoring process. Something based on wins (decide whether non-PGA wins count), position in major, top tens, scoring average, number of tournaments played, WGR compared with the start of the season, money earned, and anything else that makes sense. "Popularity" and "what country are you from?" don't make any sense, and that's why it shouldn't be left to a vote. If POTY is determined in this unbiased fashion, award a cash prize or a trophy. Or else just get rid of it altogether, no one is going to miss it.

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