Nov
9
2011
PGA Tour Names 5 POY Nominees
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Donald is the frontrunner for POY...or is he?

The PGA Tour has mailed ballots to its members for its 2012 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year — albeit two weeks later than planned when officials realized at the “season-ending” Disney event that the season wasn’t actually over because the world golf championship, the HSBC Champions, counted as an official win. In short, no one, including Tour officials, knew when the season ended. (It’s that “multi-layered tour platform,” as Commissioner Tim Finchem might say.)

The five nominees for POY are Keegan Bradley, Luke Donald, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Nick Watney.

Now several of my colleagues are up in arms that Steve Stricker, Mark Wilson and Bubba Watson, all of whom won twice in 2011, were left off the ballot. I don’t feel too strongly about it — except for Stricker — but perhaps the Tour should have added their names out of courtesy to recognize their stellar years. I mean, Bill Haas won once and it was a thrilling finish, but he beat 29 guys.

As for Stricker, I wasn’t riled up until I saw Golfweek’s Performance Chart, which uses a formula to calculate a player’s winning percentage. Stricker turned out to have the best at 87.2%, followed by Lee Westwood (not a PGA Tour member), Webb Simpson and Charl Schwartzel.

Anyway, here’s the breakdown of the five nominees and their accomplishments, courtesy of the Tour in the media blast sent this morning:

Nominee 2011 PGA TOUR Player of the Year Accomplishments (alphabetically)
Keegan  Bradley Entered 29 events during the 2011 season featuring playoff victories at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship.  Four top-10 finishes.  Ranked 20th on the final FedExCup points list and 13th on the Official Money List with $3,758,600.
Luke Donald Entered 19 events during the 2011 season featuring victories at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.  Led the TOUR with 14 top-10 finishes including a playoff loss at The Heritage.  Ranked third on the final FedExCup points list and first on the Official Money List with $6,683,214, earning the Arnold Palmer Award.  Earned Byron Nelson Award and Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average.
Bill Haas Entered 27 events during the 2011 season featuring a victory at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola that clinched the overall FedExCup title.  Seven top-10 finishes including playoff losses at the Bob Hope Classic and The Greenbrier Classic.  Ranked first on the FedExCup points list and seventh on the Official Money List with $4,088,637.
Webb Simpson Entered 26 events during the 2011 season featuring victories at the Wyndham Championship and a playoff victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship.  Twelve top-10 finishes including playoff losses at the Zurich Classic and The McGladrey Classic.  Ranked second on the FedExCup points list and second on Official Money List with $6,347,353.
Nick Watney Entered 23 events during the 2011 season featuring victories at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the AT&T National.  Had a total of 10 top-10 finishes.  Ranked ninth on the final FedExCup points list and finished third on the Official Money List with $5,290,673.

In my mind, a major counts for at least quadruple points/wins compared to a regular season event, but I would probably vote for Luke since he had the most consistent year and two victories, including the WGC Match Play (though one journeyman contested that it didn’t count because even he almost won it). What stood out to me was Luke’s 14 top-ten finishes vs. Keegan’s four, but he’s a lock for ROY.

This is kind of a waste of space because they could just hand Keegan the trophy right now, but the six nominees are: Keegan Bradley, Chris Kirk, Charl Schwartzel, Scott Stallings, Brendan Steele and Jhonattan Vegas.

Okay, so I know Charl was technically a rookie since it was his first year as a PGA Tour member, but he’s not really a rookie. At the same time he was a rookie in the sense that he probably hadn’t played at most of the regular-season tournaments that he entered this year, and it definitely makes a difference when you’re familiar with a course, event and even the little things, like where to stay, etc.

Here’s the Tour’s breakdown of the ROY candidates and their accomplishments:

Nominee 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Accomplishments (alphabetically)
Keegan  Bradley Entered 29 events during the 2011 season featuring playoff victories at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship.  Four top-10 finishes.  Ranked 20th on the final FedExCup points list and 13th on the Official Money List with $3,758,600.
Chris Kirk Entered 28 events with a victory at the Viking Classic.  Four top-10 finishes.  Ranked 42nd on the final FedExCup points list and 45th on the Official Money List with $1,877,627.
Charl Schwartzel Entered 16 events with a victory at The Masters, closing with four birdies.  Four top-10 finishes.  Ranked 32nd on the final FedExCup points list and 24th on the Official Money List with $2,604,558.
Scott Stallings Entered 29 events with a victory at The Greenbrier Classic.  Two top-10 finishes.  Ranked 57th on the final FedExCup points list and 41st on the Official Money List with $1,957,162.
Brendan Steele Entered 27 events with a victory at the Valero Texas Open.  Three top-10 finishes.  Ranked 52nd on the final FedExCup points list and 38th on the Official Money List with $1,976,310.
Jhonattan Vegas Entered 26 events with a playoff victory at the Bob Hope Classic.  Four top-10 finishes.  Ranked 54th on the final FedExCup points list and 46th on the Official Money List with $1,854,414.

Brendan Steele tweeted:

Alright, so who gets your vote for POY?

*Check out WUP’s Facebook Fan Page for the poll…

(AP Photo/John Raoux)