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Tiger Woods

Will Tiger Break Jack’s record? I might break your jaw if you ask that question one more time…

The results are in… Love it or hate it, Tiger Woods has won his 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award, as voted on by his peers. While I may have preferred to see Adam Scott or Phil Mickelson win POY, based on the pure numbers I can’t say I disagree with the outcome.

The Numbers

Tiger won five times on tour in 2013: Farmers Insurance Open, WGC Cadillac, Arnold Palmer Invitational, THE PLAYERS (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it’s what they do) Championship, WGC Bridgestone.  Two of the five events were World Golf Championships events. These events have stronger fields in terms of world rankings.

Five wins makes a great career for most tour players.  For perspective, these PGA Tour players have recorded five wins in their entire careers: Nick Watney, Justin Rose, Scott Verplank, Billy Mayfair, Hunter Mahan, Tom Lehman, Padraig Harrington, Bill Haas, Luke Donald, John Daly.

Tiger led the season long FedEx Cup points standings until the final round of the playoffs where he “ran out of gas.”

Woods led the world golf rankings by a large margin over #2 Adam Scott.

Woods also led the money race, finishing at $8,553,439. The closest competitor was Henrik Stenson at $6,388,230.

Tiger also won the Vardon Trophy for adjusted scoring average at 68.985.

Looking at these numbers it is an easy pick, as Scott and Mickelson both only had two wins.

No Majors

The funny thing about this season is that most Tiger Woods fans would call his season disappointing. I can’t say I disagree there, based on the standard which has been set.

I believe that major championships, just like in FedEx Cup points and world rankings, should have considerably more weight in calculating awards like Player of the Year. A major in my mind is worth several regular tour victories.  How many?  I’d say at least three.  That’s why I would have had no problem voting for Adam Scott or Phil Mickelson, if I had a vote to begin with.

Rules Infractions

2013 was quite a year for Tiger with regards to rules infractions. First was the bizarre situation at The Masters where Tiger’s approach on the par-5 15th doinked off the pin and into the water. He then made an improper drop and later signed an incorrect score card as he did not assess himself the penalty. Nobody would have known about the improper drop had Woods not commented that he dropped his ball farther away from the original position. But the Masters rules committed ruled in his favor before his round concluded and Woods was not disqualified. Tiger haters were throwing fits online, calling for him to be disqualified, while fans argued the opposing view.

Then there was the drop on the 14th hole at THE PLAYERS (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it’s what they do) Championship. Woods pulled his tee shot left into a water hazard. The position which he dropped was harshly questioned on the air by Johnny Miller.

Finally there was the infamous ball moving problem on Friday of the final FedEx Cup event at East Lake. Tiger was in some trees and moving loose impediments from near his ball. His ball moved at which time he immediately stopped as if to say “uh, oh. I just caused the ball to move.” But he didn’t call a penalty on himself, nor did he call a rules official over. After video review, PGA Tour rules official Slugger White tacked on two more shots to the already double-bogey Woods scored on the hole. Despite seeing the video several times, Woods still refused to admit moving the ball.

Final Comments

Tiger is a very polarizing figure no doubt. Reading social networking threads and blog comments regarding Tiger can be quite entertaining as the fans and haters tend to go at each other’s throats digitally.

I was quite surprised to hear Tiger cite “running out of gas” as a reason for his poor performance down the stretch of the FedEx Cup playoffs. When I first heard that statement I thought, “what the #$&? He’s a world class athlete!”

But Woods is not getting any younger. Perhaps all the wear and tear on those knees and back are catching up to him?  Maybe. I suspect the bulk of the fatigue Woods was referring to was mental.  Anyone who plays golf would understand that.

How many majors Tiger wins from this point on, if any at all, remains to be seen. Any conjecture is just that, conjecture. Personally I’m very tired of the constant “will Tiger break Jack’s record?” dribble from the mainstream golf media. Its so old, and its getting older. Maybe that dribble will “run out of gas” too.

I hope so.

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