Busbee: It's that time again! No, not football time, you. It's time to start kicking around who should be the player of the year. We've got three candidates: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott. One has won more tournaments this year than anybody on earth; the other two have won majors. Which way do we vote here, huh?
Bacon: I almost dedicated an entire column to this because there are so many ways you can go, but first I would like to throw out the "I bet Tiger would take (include Scott or Mickelson's) year." That isn't how this is figured out. Adam Scott even said BEFORE he won this weekend that "I'd rather have mine" when comparing seasons to Tiger, but this is a look at the entire season, not just the difference in PGA Tour wins and majors.
Despite the win by Scott at the Barclays, I still have to go with Tiger considering he has five wins and, as long as he's healthy, will probably snag another one before the playoffs end. Tiger himself may be judged on major wins, but his season, and this award, are not, and five wins is a lot more than two, even if one of those is a major.
Busbee: It's not like there's not precedent for that. Woods won Player of the Year in 2003, a year in which he didn't capture a single major but did have -- wait for it -- five wins. So that puts Woods in the lead. What could Scott or Mickelson do to swing that pendulum in their direction? Do you think another win or two would do it? Would a FedEx Cup win (and commensurate money list victory) be enough?
Bacon: I definitely think that both Mickelson and Scott have a chance to take hold of this tight race with a win as these playoffs continue on. Mickelson's near-59 followed by a run at the U.S. Open only to be followed up by that British Open win would look very, very nice with a win at say, the Tour Championship. Scott has now put himself in a position like Rory McIlroy a year ago, making a late run in the season to snag his first POTY honor (Rory won consecutive playoff events last year to go along with his PGA Championship trophy).
My question remains, does the FedEx Cup trophy play into voter's minds? It isn't really a win, and it definitely isn't a major, but the fact that it comes at the end of the season, and means so much financially, has to sway voters doesn't it?
Busbee: The cumulative nature (cumulativity? cumulo-numbus?) nature of the FedEx Cup gives it a bit more cachet than your average Anonymous Midwestern Insurance Company Classic, because it requires sustained excellence. So, yeah, it should absolutely have some sway. Then again, Woods is right there in the midst of that. I'm thinking that if Scott or Mickelson is going to do this, they'll have to win something big late. Otherwise, it's Woods' to lose.
So, you think Woods does it? Or can Scott catch him?
Bacon: The only way Scott or Mickelson can catch him (and I have Scott at 2a and Mickelson at 2b) is I think at least one more win and the FedEx Cup title. If they can do that, especially if that other win comes at the Tour Championship, I could see voters getting bored of picking Tiger and trying to go another way.
Oh, and crazy stat of the day - Mickelson has NEVER won PGA Tour Player of the Year. That just seems wrong.
Busbee: Or completely, totally right.
Bacon: A Mickelson thumbs-up is in order.
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