In 2010 McIlroy, who won the Quail Hollow Championship, was clipped by Rickie Fowler, who was winless during his first year, for the Rookie of the Year Award. Some said the vote was fallout from McIlroy’s decision to forego Tour membership in 2011. The perception was that U.S. players voted for one of their own.
The same bias could decide this year’s Player of the Year vote, a crowded ballot that includes at least five legitimate candidates including Donald, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson , Nick Watney and Steve Stricker.
Complicating the vote, at least for Donald whose 13 top-10s leads the Tour, is a barebones ballot, which will be sent out the last week of October, that lists only names, not accomplishments.
“It’s a tough one, the Player of the Year,” Donald said on Wednesday at Disney. “Hopefully the players will consider a few things outside the money list.”
In Donald’s case, players may also want to consider his pseudo American status. The Englishman has lived in the U.S. since 1997, his first year at Northwestern University, and owns two homes in America and none in England.
For Paul Goydos, McIlroy’s perceived snub last year was not jingoistic fallout as much as it was a lack of direction for voting members.
“I don’t think it’s a perception problem as much as it is a definition problem,” Goydos said. “Keegan (Bradley) is a true rookie, I played with Charl Schwartzel five years ago. He’s not a rookie.”
Simpson and Donald will duel this week at Disney for the money title and ballots are not due until early December, which means voting could be influenced by what happens at the Presidents Cup.