An unconventional swing can still win a player a prestigious award. Jim Furyk, a three-time winner, was named the PGA Player of the Year by the PGA of America. Thanks to Furyk’s strong finish with his victory at the Tour Championship, he earned enough points to edge out Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker. Furyk collected 60 points, while Kuchar and Stricker received 50. Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were third and fourth in the standings, respectively.
This is the first year Furyk has received the award. He’s also the first American not named Tiger Woods to win it since 1998. Keeping in the spirit of firsts, Furyk won three titles, the Transitions Championship, the Verizon Heritage and the Tour Championship, for the first time in his career. He also was the first player to sleep through his pro-am starting time, resulting in his disqualification at an event (The Barclays).
Furyk finished second on the PGA Tour money list with $4,809,622 in earnings and fifth in the scoring average standings.
Meanwhile, Kuchar took home his first Vardon Trophy for low scoring average. He was a bastion of consistency in 2010 with 11 top-ten finishes. He also finished the season as the PGA Tour money leader with the $4,910,477 deposited in the bank. In 97 rounds, he posted a 69.71 adjusted scoring average, .05 lower than Stricker (69.66). Paul Casey and Retief Goosen shared third at 69.72. What’s more impressive is that Kuchar played more events than those guys (so there was more room for error).
The PGA Tour Player of the Year is still up for grabs. That contest is decided by the players who vote for the peer they think is most deserving. Last year Tiger won. (Since he took a leave of absence, does that qualify him for Comeback Player of the Year? Kidding!) Will it be a Furyk sweep? Methinks so.
Since the PGA uses a points system to determine the POY, it’s tough to contend the result — not to mention Furky’s three victories, along with winning that FedEx Cup thing — but if it were decided by votes, who would you have picked?
Update: As Reader Brian sensibly notes, the world’s player of the year is a much more interesting conversation, so feel free to have at it.