Did Paddy deserve POY

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2008, 5:00 pm
Padriag Harrington was voted PGA Tour Player of the Year Tuesday, becoming the first European player to win the award since it began in 1990. Good call? Bad call? That Tiger Woods fella had a pretty impressive run until he went on the disabled list in late June. Senior writer Rex Hoggard and editorial director Jay Coffin weigh in with differing opinions.
 

By REX HOGGARD
Senior Writer, GolfChannel.com

 
The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from.
-John Still, author of
The Jungle Tide
 
John Still was neither a PGA Tour player nor a golf writer, but his wisdom resonates in the wake of Tuesdays Player of the Year announcement.
 
Make no mistake, Padraig Harringtons season, if not that fearless 5-wood he roped to the 71st green at Royal Birkdale, was Cooperstown. The Irishmans 08 card is a ready-made instant classic during an era that doesnt lend itself to domination by the rank-and-file. And the man, at least for those who carry notebooks for a living, is a cure for clichs.
Tiger Woods
Woods plays through pain in the final round Sunday of the U.S. Open

But, with apologies to whole of County Dublin, he is not the PGA Tour Player of the Year. That honor belongs to Tiger Woods.
 
Harrington won twice, a pair of majors that stretches his record in Grand Slam gatherings to three for his last six starts, and earned $4.3 million in 15 Tour starts. Woods won four times in six starts and earned $5.7 million, but thats not why hes your POY. His name should be etched into the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for the tenth time because he became the first player to limp and grimace his way to the top of Mount Olympus on a single wheel.
 
Rocco Mediate called his 91-hole title bout with Woods at this years U.S. Open, ridiculous. Jay Williamson dubbed the years most manic Monday a David versus Goliath classic. And Woods, a man who avoids hyperbole like three-putts, could only manage a breathless, unbelievable as the sun settled over the grounds June 16 at Torrey Pines.
 
They wanted a show, they got one, said Mediate, historys David to Woods Torrey Pines Goliath.
 
A day later the world began to understand the depths of Woods injury when the world No. 1 went under a surgeons knife to end his year. We may never know the extent of Woods injury, but it is safe to say the damage was far worse than Woods ever let on.
 
Some will say that Harrington deserves the hardware because he completed a metaphorical 72 holes while Woods only made it 36. To that we respectfully offer the Irishmans post-PGA resume. After Oakland Hills, Harrington missed consecutive cuts ' first time hes done that since 2006 ' failed to get past the third round of the playoffs and was a non-starter at Valhalla where he failed to earn a full point for the Europeans.
 
That Woods delivered two of the seasons hallmark moments ' his 91-hole Open odyssey and a walkoff victory at Bay Hill in March ' while playing a limited schedule on a lame knee should add to his 2008 legacy, not distract from it.
 
But of all the reasons to give Woods the POY nod, the most convincing was his own assessment of that surreal SoCal soiree.
 
This is probably the best ever, Woods said when asked to rank where his Torrey Pines Open ranked among his sizable accomplishments. All things considered, I dont know how I ended up in this position to be honest with you.
 
Neither do we.
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
By JAY COFFIN
Editorial Director, GolfChannel.com

 
Word is Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on one leg. Problem is that two days later he announced hed hang it up for the remainder of the season in lieu of knee surgery.
 
Thats why Padraig Harrington deserved to be the PGA Tours Player of the Year. The award, afterall, is Player of the Year, not Player of the First-half-of-the-year.
 
The obvious reason here is because of Harringtons two major championship victories. With such a strong emphasis placed on major champions, these two treasured tokens should outweigh everything else. Sure, Woods wasnt at either tournament, and as much as people would like to believe that hed have won if he was at the British Open or PGA Championship, well never know and shouldnt waste brain matter trying to debate.
 
With the whole golf world wondering who would step up in Woods absence, Harrington was the only one who did. It wasnt Phil and it wasnt Sergio. It was Paddy, who crafted brilliant final rounds at Royal Birkdale to hunt down Greg Norman and stare down Sergio Garcia in the final stretch at Oakland Hills.
 
Padraig Harrington
Harrington celebrates at Royal Birkdale, following his 2nd Open Championship victory
Its not like Harrington was chopped liver the first six months of the year. He had four top-four finishes before arriving at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open, where he tied for 36th and didnt play particularly well. The Irishman tied for third at Riviera, tied for fourth in New Orleans, tied for fifth at the Masters and tied for fourth at St. Jude. Missed cuts at The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship are irrelevant and came just before an intense Ryder Cup defeat for Harrington and the Europeans at Valhalla.
 
Think back 10 years and youll find a similar scenario to this year. David Duval had won four times, was No. 1 on the money list and lost Player of the Year honors to Mark OMeara, who won a pair of major championships but had no other wins. The only difference in 1998 was that Duval collected his four victories over the entire season. Woods collected them in a six-tournament span.
 
Its foolish to disregard Woods accomplishments this year and its clear that he received many votes just off his superhuman performance at the U.S. Open. But the award should be based solely on accomplishment, not what he potentially would have done had he played the rest of the year. It was an impressive campaign, but not a complete one.
 
If Harrington didnt win two majors, this isnt even a debate. Woods wouldve been a unanimous choice. But Harrington did and he deserved the nod.
 
Besides, Woods had won nine of the past 11 Player of the Year awards. Did he really need an 10th?
 

Related Links:
  • Harrington voted PGA Tour Player of the Year
  • Getty Images

    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

    Getty Images

    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

    Getty Images

    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

     


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.

    Getty Images

    Woods fires shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.