As Henrik Stenson was putting the finishing touches on his spectacular Tour Championship performance, I was left with an empty feeling. Not because I didn’t think Stenson was a worthy champion (he is, he totally is) but rather because the PGA Tour season was coming to an end.
It was a finality that I’m not sure I was ready for.
But I quickly moved on, remembering that there is still plenty to look forward to this fall in the world of golf. Let’s take a look at what golf fans should watch for in the next few months, starting with the post season awards.
We will officially put a bow on the 2013 PGA season this week when the Tour hands out it’s post season hardware. The two awards worth noting here are the Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year awards.
Rookie of the year is a no brainer. That will go to Jordan Spieth. He is on the verge of superstardom and he owes that to a stellar first year on Tour. The 20 (!) year old took home the John Deere Classic trophy in July and dazzled us in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He also earned a spot on the US President’s Cup squad (which we will talk about in part two). Look for big things from this kid next year. I would put him on a short list of potential major winners next year. Yeah, he is that good.
As for Player of the Year, I think it’s a no-brainer as well, but there has been a little more debate about this award. In my mind, Tiger Woods had the best season in 2013. No offense to Phil Mickelson or Adam Scott (two other potential winners), but Tiger out played you this year. Adam, we were happy for you when you slipped on the green jacket. Phil, when you hoisted the Clarett Jug, we were pumped back here in the states. However, Tiger won five times this year. He was also a hit flag stick away from taking home the aforementioned green jacket. He won the PLAYERS. He won two World Golf Championship events. He was the best this year.
The reason for the drama comes in the form of public opinion. A popularity contest, if you will. Many will point to Phil finally breaking through at the Open. Same for Adam Scott at the Master’s. In those people’s minds, that’s good enough for Player of the Year. A completely subjective rationale for a completely subjective award. I can understand that view point to a certain extent. After all, there aren’t necessarily specific criteria for Player of the Year, nor should there be.
But I think you need to look at the whole body of work this year. Tiger has Scott and Mickelson beat there and should take home the honor. It is possible that voters use this award as a cherry on top of the sundae that is Mickelson’s career. Surprisingly, he’s never won Player of the Year. So I give that a one percent chance.
Same for Adam Scott. If he was in the same position as Phil (aka, the twilight of his career, sans Player of the Year trophy) I would maybe bump that up to two percent.
But bottom line is, this should go to Tiger. I know it. You know it. Tiger’s daughter knows it.
Tomorrow we will take a look at the upcoming President’s Cup. I know you all can’t wait!