Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour’s executive vice president of communication and international affairs, defended the circuit’s decision to delay sending out Player of the Year ballots two weeks until after the WGC-HSBC Champions on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” Wednesday.
“If this change wasn’t made you could have had members voting on incomplete information if they voted before HSBC,” Votaw said. “It came down to a question of fairness.”
The move had drawn criticism from many corners of the golf world, including Luke Donald, who secured the Tour’s money title with his victory on Sunday at Disney and became the leader in the clubhouse for the 2011 Player of the Year award. On Tuesday’s “Morning Drive” Donald called the decision to delay sending out the ballot “sketchy at best.”
“Nothing whatsoever about this decision takes away the merits of Luke’s exemplary performance this year in voter’s minds,” Votaw said. “But this isn’t about Luke Donald. We would have made the decision if Webb Simpson would have won on Sunday.”
Despite the adjustment, the deadline to return the Player of the Year ballots remains the same (Dec. 9), which would have allowed players to consider results from the HSBC event as well as November’s Presidents Cup regardless of the delay.
Votaw said the Tour made the adjustment after being asked by a member of the golf media if HSBC was still an official Tour victory. The WGC is considered an official victory but the China stop does not count as official earnings.
“This was about fairness to the voting body so that the same information is possessed by all voting members when the ballots are sent out,” Votaw said. Ballots, however, do not include any results or statistical information, only the names of potential candidates.
It doesn’t seem likely the delay will impact the voting for POY. GTC asked Steve Flesch, who had been on the “fence” earlier in the week, if Donald had locked up the POY award: “Absolutely,” he said. “King Luke rules the golfing world.”