The awards are starting to pile up for Tiger Woods again.
Woods has won the points-based award as player of the year from the PGA of America, which was virtually a lock when the FedEx Cup ended and became a mathematical fact this week. His six PGA Tour victories (10 points each) were twice as many as anyone else, and Woods already wrapped up the PGA Tour money list (20 points) and lowest adjusted scoring average (20 points).
It was the 10th time Woods has won the PGA award.
He also wins the Vardon Trophy from the PGA of America and the Byron Nelson Award from the PGA Tour for having the lowest adjusted scoring average at 68.05. It’s the eighth time he has won the Vardon.
Woods wins the Arnold Palmer Award on the PGA Tour for winning the money title for the ninth time, earning just more than $10.5 million. Still to be decided is the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for the PGA Tour player of the year, which is a vote of the players. The other candidates likely will be Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson, with three wins each, or perhaps Y.E. Yang, who won the PGA Championship and Honda Classic. None of the other major champions won more than once.
If Woods were to win PGA Tour player of the year, it would be only the fourth time since it began in 1990 that a player won the award without having won a major. Woods (2003), Greg Norman (1995) and Wayne Levi (1990) were the others.
FRUITLESS FURYK: Jim Furyk ended his 2009 season on the PGA Tour with a 62 in Las Vegas and finished the year with 11 top 10s (second only to Tiger Woods) and nearly $4 million in earnings.
He will start next year with a question that is beginning to bug him.
When is he going to win again?
“I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me,” Furyk said. “Not that it’s brought up – it’s only my fault. I didn’t get it done.”
Furyk now has gone 54 starts without winning, his longest drought since he went 62 tournaments at the start of his career before winning for the first time in Las Vegas in 1995.
“I’m just not doing enough to keep those rounds going,” he said. “When you win a tournament, you always have that one day where you’re not really clicking on all cylinders. But you’ve got to find a way to scratch it out.”
SIM STAYS PUT: Michael Sim picked a bad time to win earn an instant promotion to the PGA Tour.
Sim won his third Nationwide Tour event on Aug. 23, right before the FedEx Cup playoffs began. That meant no tournaments in the big leagues for five weeks. And now that the Presidents Cup is over, his luck is not improving.
The Australian did not get in the field in Las Vegas, and he didn’t get in the Fry’s.com Open this week in Arizona. Instead, Sim is playing the Nationwide Tour Championship this week, with nothing to gain except a chance to build on his record earnings.
PGA Tour officials say Sim will get in the Viking Classic next week. That will give him at least two starts as a PGA Tour member, half as many as Nick Flanagan got in 2007 when he earned his instant promotion.
The Fall Series has some of the weakest fields of the year, although the field in Las Vegas was 18 percent stronger than last year. One reason could be so many players having to wait so long without competing during the playoffs. Along with a week off during the playoffs, there was another week break with the Presidents Cup.
Plus, with one fewer tournament in the Fall Series, more players might be competing in every event.
PGA BALLOT: The PGA Tour awards process began last week in Las Vegas with a Players Advisory Council meeting. The 16 members, along with four players on the policy board, can nominate up to five players each for player of the year and rookie of the year, and up to three players for comeback player of the year.
The five players and rookies with the most nominations go on the ballot.
How many for comeback player of the year?
After Steve Stricker won the comeback award for the second straight year in 2007, the PAC decided it would be OK to not have an award if there was not a reasonable candidate who came back from injury, off-course issues or a long stretch of poor play.
The question is whether Tiger Woods – a shoo-in for player of the year –is a worthy candidate of comeback player of the year after missing half of last year with reconstructive knee surgery. Then again, Woods won four times in six starts last year, with the other finishes a runner-up and tie for fifth.
That prompted Stricker to dismiss Woods’ comeback candidacy by saying, “Where did he go?”
The ballot, once determined after the final tournament, will be sent out to PGA Tour members, who have 30 days to vote.
ROOKIES: Three tournaments remain to keep alive a streak on the PGA Tour: A rookie has won every season since 1998.
The closest call this year was Ricky Barnes, who was two shots behind Lucas Glover in a tie for second at the U.S. Open. Four months later, Barnes is in jeopardy of losing his card.
Marc Leishman of Australia tied for second in the BMW Championship, seven shots back of Tiger Woods. He is a leading candidate for rookie of the year because he is ranked highest on the money list (No. 44) and is the only rookie to make it to the Tour Championship.
Then again, winning a PGA Tour event doesn’t guarantee the rookie of the year award. Charles Howell III was voted the top rookie in 2001 without a victory, getting the honor ahead of U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, Garrett Willis, David Gossett and Jose Coceres, who won twice that year.
DIVOTS: The Quail Hollow Championship raised $1.6 million for local charity, with half of it going to Teach for America in Charlotte, N.C. The tournament has raised more than $11 million in seven years. … The PGA of America posed 25 questions to caddies of the four major champions in its Grand Slam program. Ruben “Gordito” Yorio, who works for Masters champion Angel Cabrera, was asked to choose between a caddie and a cart. “Caddie. Feet never go flat,” he replied. … Chad Campbell has won only twice when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead. However, he has never finished worse than runner-up the other five times.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Ernie Els is the only player to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf when Tiger Woods was in the field.
FINAL WORD: “Winning three majors gives you a right to be heard.”— European Tour chief executive George O’Grady, on Padraig Harrington’s suggestions at a tour meeting on membership requirements.