Thursday, August 21, 2008
A Fair Point on Player of the Year
I've been reading Jeff Rude since I was in high school, mostly because I got Golfweek every week and because he's the back page guy and Rick Reilly had all of us in a Pavlovian condition with the "back page first" maneuver.
Anyway, his recent column on the Player of the Year debate was extremely well done, even if I'm swaying the complete opposite direction of his vote.
Though majors carry extra weight, Woods gets my GWAA vote not only because of his broken-leg mind-blower but because he has three more victories than Harrington. What’s more, Woods’ dramatic victories at Dubai, WGC Match Play, Bay Hill and the Open, not to mention his blowout at the Buick Invitational, were stuff of fairy tales.
It's hard to argue that Tiger's wins this year were anything short of spectacular, but the bottom line is Padraig Harrington has won two majors and that takes precedent.
There are four tournaments a year that count more than anything else, and even with Woods carding one (and not playing in two) it was Harrington who stepped up from the field and it was Harrington who put together such fantastic back nines.
One of my points that has been lost in arguments is there was more pressure on these golfers after Tiger went down than when he's in the field. Most of the time, you have the top golfers trying to battle Woods, but if they lose it's alright because they were supposed to. When he went out with the knee surgery, everyone turned to the top dogs to show what they were made of. Harrington was the only one that did anything.
As much as I'd like to say Padraig is a shoe-in to win this award, I'm not so certain anymore. People can't get the Tiger taste out of their mouth, and after that performance at Torrey Pines, the taste was sweeter than ever.
If you get a chance, read the rest of Rude's column, because the picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team are different but very interesting. I think I'm on board.