PHILADELPHIA — The notion that there is an argument is sickening, really.
That anyone other than Tiger Woods should get consideration for PGA Tour player of the year speaks to the resentment of the hand that feeds so many of the players and pundits who owe him so much.
Voting, by the players, closed Thursday. Results came Friday. It should be foregone. And it was. Woods won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the player of the year for the 11th time in his illustrious career. Woods also won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average and the PGA Tour money title.
Tiger won five PGA Tour tournaments. No one else won more than twice.
He finished in the top six in two majors but won none; but no one else won more than one major.
None of the major winners besides Adam Scott won another significant tournament.
Scott’s win at the Barclays, which began the FedEx Cup “playoffs,” greatly outweighed Phil Mickelson’s win at the Waste Management Circus.
In New Jersey, Scott beat the second-best field assembled this season. In Arizona, Mickelson beat a field that excluded every other player currently in the top seven of the World Golf Rankings; including, and especially, Tiger.
(And no, Mickelson’s win at the Scottish Open does not count, since it isn’t a PGA Tour event.)
Yes, the world rankings are flawed, but no more so than the contrived FedEx Cup system. The rankings cannot be ignored outright. Tiger sits far ahead of everyone: Scott, the world’s handsomest golfer; then Mickelson, the world’s slickest golfer; then Henrik Stenson, who is the world’s hottest golfer.
But none was the world’s best this year. None was close.
Tiger gained more than 442 ranking points in 2013, 150 more than Scott, almost 100 more than Mickelson. He gained that many points thanks not only to his five wins but also because two of those wins were World Golf Championship events, which carry more weight than typical tournaments; about as much weight, in fact, as the FedEx Cup Playoff events.
Tiger also won the Player’s Championship, annually the toughest assemblage at the toughest venue.
Therein lies the crux of most arguments against Woods winning Player of the Year: It was not a Player of the Year performance by Tiger standards.
Sorry. There does not exist a Tiger Scale for Tiger, and a Mortal Scale for everyone else.
Would Tiger trade five wins and more than $8.5 million for a 15th major victory? Sure. Tiger defines himself by majors won ... but the player of the year is not defined that way. If that were so, Jim Furyk and Luke Donald would not have been POYs in 2010 and 2011.
Would Mickelson or Scott trade their year for Tiger’s? No. They’re rich.
But ask $3 million winner Jason Dufner, the PGA Tournament champion, if he wouldn’t trade places. Tiger this year made more than $8 million more than Dufner in winnings and annuity (Tiger finished second in the FexEx Cup standings for $3 million). Dufner has made $15 million in his career.
Do not underestimate the dollar signs. After all, it is the Professional Golfer’s Association, not the Populist Golfer’s Association.
All told, Tiger won more than 25 percent more prize money than the next pro, Stenson.
Tiger won more than 35 percent more money than Mickelson, who played nearly 25 percent more tournaments than Tiger’s 16.
Tiger won more than 40 percent more money than Scott, who had as many starts as Tiger.
As for the contention that this wasn’t a good year in Tiger Terms — well, no, it wasn’t. But it was a career year for anyone not on golf’s Rushmore.
Furyk won POY in a Tiger-Lite 2010 with three wins, none of them majors; missed two major cuts; and finished out of the top 15 the other two majors.
Luke Donald was POY in a largely Tiger-free 2011 with only two wins, neither of them majors; missed a major cut; and finished no better than fourth in a major.
The debate this year exists not because Tiger failed to win a major. It exists solely because of what Tiger isn’t.
Tiger isn’t gracious. He isn’t deferential. He isn’t accommodating. He isn’t, frankly, white.
Don’t pretend that doesn’t play a part.
Despite the presence of its reigning potentate, the Kingdom of Golf still welcomes the likes of Stevie “Black A-hole” Williams, Sergio “Fried Chicken” Garcia, Fuzzy “Little Boy” and “Collard Greens” Zoeller; and, of course, bumbling European Tour director George “Colored Athletes” O’Grady.
But, thankfully, racism serves as only an echo in the current discussion, a hollow crutch for establishment types offended that Tiger does not continually lick their hobnailed shoes.
Most of the resentment lies at Tiger’s famously delicate feet. He treats people brusquely, and, so, reaps a crop of bitterness.
This rancor toward him is a manifestation of his typically churlish reaction to constant scrutiny, endless criticism, and, even, the phony fawning that accompanies his existence as the most famous man in the sporting world.
No other golfer has every shot videotaped for examination of rules violations by sniveling video editors.
No other golfer suffers death threats and paparazzi pressure like a politician or a royal.
And no other golfer would be subjected to the indignity of a Player of the Year argument so meritless; so absurd; so egregiously unjust.
Rest assured, no other golfer would respond the way Tiger assuredly will:
Determined to make next year’s POY even less debatable.