Harrington or Tiger for Player of the Year
None received a ballot, which was mailed last week to players for a vote that could show what they regard as relevant.
Topping the list of five nominees were Harrington, the British Open and PGA champion who became only the seventh player since 1960 to win consecutive majors in the same season; and Woods, who won four times in six starts, including the U.S. Open in a playoff, before season-ending knee surgery.
The 16-man Players Advisory Council and four players on the PGA Tour policy board, which compiled the ballot, added FedEx Cup champion Vijay Singh with his three victories, three-time winner Kenny Perry, and a most peculiar selection of Camilo Villegas, who won the final two playoff events.
Why not Anthony Kim, who also had two victories (against full fields), had more top 10s and finished higher on the money list while playing the same number of tournaments?
They would have been better off listing only four names rather than snubbing someone.
Not that it matters.
Players really only have two choices, and this is one case where it might be helpful to have exit polling. Then again, it would really be helpful if the TASS-oriented PGA Tour disclosed the vote totals like every other sport.
Harrington is considered the front-runner based on recent precedence and the value of majors.
Anytime you win a major championship, its always going to be a great year, Woods said last year after winning the PGA Championship for his only major that season.
So what does two majors make it?
Since the PGA Tour award began in 1990, no one has won two majors without winning the award. Double major winner Nick Faldo was not a member in 1990 when the inaugural award went to Wayne Levi, who won four times and was second on the money list.
Faldo did win the points-based award from the PGA of America in 1990, although Gary Player won two majors in 1974 when the PGA award went to Johnny Miller and his eight victories.
If I had been voting, I would have gone with Gary, Miller wrote in the December issue of Golf Digest.
And if Miller were voting this year (hes not), his choice would be Harrington. The Irishman had four other top-five finishes, including a tie for fifth in the Masters. But those majors were his only victories.
The recent precedence for the PGA Tour award is Mark OMeara in 1998. He won the Masters and British Open at age 41, the oldest player to win two majors in one year. Players voted him over David Duval, who led the tour with four victories, won the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average.
But the other major champions in 1998 were not worthy of serious consideration. Lee Janzens only victory was the U.S. Open. Vijay Singh tacked on the International a week after winning his first major at the PGA Championship.
The other major winners this year were Masters champion Trevor Immelman, who like Janzen had no other victories; and Woods, whose four-month ledger is comparable to Tom Lehmans career.
Along with winning the U.S. Open, he was second in the Masters. The only other tournament Woods failed to win was the CA Championship at Doral, where he tied for fifth. He won the Buick Invitational by eight shots, the Accenture Match Play Championship by a record score (8 and 7) and the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 25-foot birdie on the final hole.
Woods sat out the entire month of May after a knee surgery, then missed the final three months of the season because of another operation. He still finished second on the money list, and didnt give up the lead until there were two tournaments left.
Thats how dominant Woods was the first half of the season.
But over the second half of the season, Harringtons golf was special.
A vote for Tiger is essentially saying that had there been no knee injury, he would have won one of the majors that Padraig did, Miller wrote. But there is no assurance that Tiger would have won the British or PGA, and you cant give him credit for winning the majors he didnt play.
This might be one time the players agree with Miller.
Duval, the subject of such a debate 10 years ago, reached a similar conclusion Tuesday afternoon. Woods record in only six tournaments is worthy of consideration'four wins, one major, no finish worse than fifth, second on the money list.
It sure looked like it might have been a walkaway, Duval said. But the fact is, he didnt play. Who knows what would have happened? Youre assuming he would have played that way all year. I dont think thats fair for a player who played all year and won two majors.
Lee Westwood suggested this month that Harrington did not have the most consistent year or he would have wrapped up the Order of Merit in Europe without having to play the final month.
But when asked about player of the year, he returned to Harrington.
Any player that wins two majors in a year has to be classed as the best of the year, Westwood said.
If he doesnt win, perhaps Woods can aspire to something else never accomplished.
Along with being a perennial candidate for player of the year, Woods might be a shoo-in next season for comeback player of the year.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”
After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood
With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.
While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.
Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.
Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2
Zach Johnson: 13/2
Rory McIlroy: 7/1
Jordan Spieth: 8/1
Rickie Fowler: 9/1
Kevin Kisner: 12/1
Xander Schauffele: 16/1
Tony Finau: 16/1
Matt Kuchar: 18/1
Pat Perez: 25/1
Brooks Koepka: 25/1
Erik van Rooyen: 50/1
Alex Noren: 50/1
Tiger Woods: 50/1
Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1
Danny Willett: 60/1
Francesco Molinari: 60/1