With three FedEx Cup events remaining on the PGA Tour calendar, including the Tour Championship, it’s still too early to determine who will be crowned Player of the Year. But just for fun, let’s size up the best candidates:
Tiger Woods: He didn’t win a major, but so what? After having major knee surgery last year, he has won 5 times in 14 starts this season. Yes, he MC’d at the British Open. Other than that blemish, his worst finish was T17 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, his first event of the year. He’s also placed in the top-10 in every other tournament. There’s no denying he’s the best player in the world and likely will always be number one until he retires, in like, 20 years. Now the question is whether or not another player has outshined him in ‘09.
Angel Cabrera: To be frank, he doesn’t stand a chance notwithstanding he is the ‘09 Masters Champion. His only other top-10 finish was at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He played decently at The Players and the British Open, placing T14 and T24, respectively. Though he has a knack for stepping up at the big tournaments, he missed the cut at The Barclays (maybe he feels indifferent about the FedEx Cup?).
Lucas Glover: Like Angel, he’s in the running because he won a major, the U.S. Open. He has had a good year, though. He’s been steady, placing in the top 5 on four other occasions.
Stewart Cink: Ah, our favorite PGA tweeter and ‘09 British Open Champion. Stewie has four total top-10 finishes. He is usually a middle-of-the-pack kind of player — you know, he’s pretty consistent and obviously he’ll win one occasionally. He broke our hearts by beating good ol’ Tom Watson in a playoff at the Open to secure his first major win. So, both of those achievements definitely count for something. And, he pioneered the PGA Twitter movement.
Y.E. Yang: YANG! He probably has the best chance of winning behind Tiger. What he accomplished at the PGA Championship was truly remarkable. I mean, he marred Tiger’s perfect 8 for 8 record of winning when he held the 54-hole lead at a major. And he’s the first Asian-born player to win a major championship. How about the 3-hybrid he hit into the 72nd hole, too? I still can’t get over how amazing that was — the best I’ve ever seen under those circumstances. Yang also won the Honda Classic early in the season.
Kenny Perry: Poor KP almost won the Masters, which would have been one of the greatest Cinderella stories in golfing history. As it happened, he choked in the final few holes. Oh well. He’s still had an incredible season. He’s made the cut in all 21 starts (I’m pretty sure he’s the only player who hasn’t MC’d yet). He has seven top-ten finishes, including two wins, the FBR Open and the Travelers Championship. Not to mention he’s 49!
Steve Stricker: He’s another who has played very consistently. He’s won twice, placed second twice and finished in the top-ten 9 times. He hasn’t done anything that noteworthy — he T2 at The Barclays last week. He missed a 10-footer on the final hole and the chance to force a playoff with Heath Slocum.
The next three weeks will give a better indication of who is the most deserving. As of now, it’s hard to vote against Tiger. I know, I know, how boring! While it would be nice to see someone else win the title for a change (though he didn’t win last year because he missed half the season) — based on the results — he is hands-down the favorite.
But I would love to see Yang receive the honor. I think what he’s achieved has been the most impressive. And, he would not only be the first Asian-born player to win a major, but first to win Player of the Year. He gets my vote. Here’s hoping he wins one of the FedEx Cup tournaments.
Who do you think deserves the title?
[Photos (from L to R) by Chris Graythen/Getty Images, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images Europe, Andrew Redington/Getty Images, Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images]