The PGA Tour super season is 60% completed, yet no leader for Player of the Year has emerged. Thirty events -- including three major championships -- have been played, and somehow nobody has more victories than Stewart Cink (two). With just 20 tournaments -- and three majors -- remaining, the race is wide open for the taking.
This is somewhat unusual in recent years, although this year is anything but normal in the way it has been structured. In 2019, the race was clearly between just Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy (who went on to win). In 2018, Koepka had it locked up by the time the fourth major was played. Same for Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and McIlroy in the years that preceded. Maybe that will also be true by the time the PGA Championship, this season's fourth major, is completed next month. But in this season with 50 tournaments and six major championships? An entire career could be made over the last five months.
If you had to vote today, I suppose Bryson DeChambeau would likely be the pick. He took the U.S. Open last September and owns a dramatic victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He has five top 10s in just 10 starts, and is second on the money list behind Justin Thomas (who has two extra starts). But it's not the most solid ground given that the Player of the Year winner almost always has at least three victories -- and more would probably be expected in this super season.
I'm not even sure who you would line up behind DeChambeau in the pecking order. Some combination of Dustin Johnson (Masters win), Hideki Matsuyama (also a Masters winner), Justin Thomas (Players Championship), Jordan Spieth (six top 10s and a win), Jon Rahm (nine top 10s, no win) and, hell, maybe even Cink.
While the Player of the Year award is far less prestigious (and cared about) than winning one of the four remaining major championships, it does give us a good synopsis of the season that was. When you look at 2015 (Spieth), 2016 (D.J.), 2017 (J.T.), 2018 (Koepka) and 2019 (McIlroy), those golfers owned those years. Even D.J. again in 2020 won three times after the restart and clearly established himself as the guy in a weird, truncated season.
That has yet to happen in 2021, which speaks to a couple of things. The first is the parity that exists at the top of the world right now. There are about 15 guys you could talk me into being the best in the world in any given week and about 30 who can win any of the majors. That makes stacking three-win or four-win seasons more impressive. The second is that golfers have picked their spots in this massive season. Even though we're coming up on the fourth major, DeChambeau has only played 10 times, which is the same as D.J. Even guys who play a lot (relative to other superstars) like Spieth and Thomas are not above 15.
So there is plenty of time for somebody to add to their bagged events (or majors) over the next 20 weeks. And there are plenty of massive events to win. Of the next 20 tournaments, three are majors, three are FedEx Cup Playoffs events, one is a WGC and three others are big-time, "everybody is teeing it up this week" tournaments. That's 10 really meaningful wins for players at the top of the world.
I expect J.T., DeChambeau or Spieth to make a push. Or maybe Rahm rips off three in two months (including a PGA or U.S. Open). Or maybe nobody emerges and we end the season with six guys having two wins. Regardless of who eventually comes out on top, though, this is a nice storyline that adds to what has already been a fascinating slate and is about to end with a flurry of monster events in a tiny window to close out the longest, biggest season in Tour history.