October 11, 2010
Soon the PGA Tour will announce its 2010 Player of the Year. For anyone that follows golf, they know the winner will be Jim Furyk, who took down three titles including The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. He was the best player on the PGA Tour this season.
But he wasn't the best player in golf. That title lies with Martin Kaymer, who won the Dunhill Links Championship over the weekend at St. Andrews for his third European Tour title of the year to go with his win at the PGA Championship, his first major championship at just 25.
So it brings up a question; should golf have an award for the best player in the world? Sure, most of the time that is the same as the PGA Tour winner, but it isn't always the case, especially with how golf is continuing to grow and strive in other parts of the world.
It's interesting that this debate comes just a few days after Lee Westwood, soon to be No. 1 in the world, announced that he will spend all his time next season on the European Tour. Westwood, who won once this year on the PGA Tour, was arguably the most consistent golfer this season, finishing second at both the Masters and British Open and T16 at the U.S. Open.
Kaymer, in his own regards, is molding into the best young golfer in the world. Not only did he take down Whistling Straits in a playoff against Bubba Watson, but the German finished in the top 10 at both the U.S. and British Opens.
While awards like Player of the Year aren't really the biggest deal in sports (the real hardware is the green jacket you can wear or the big trophies you claim at the three other majors), it still helps us remember history. In 20 years, people will look back at 2010 and think about the year Furyk had, forgetting that Kaymer killed it for most of the season, winning his first European event in January and his last in October.
If you are one of those that think the PGA Tour is the true test of the game, look at Kaymer's stats; six top 25s in 10 events, with a win and a third at the WGC-CA Championship.
Golf needs to think about venturing out past the United States when thinking about the top player in the game. It sure looks like this season, they'll be getting it wrong.