Consensus thinking. The measured handwringing as we inch closer to the end of Tiger Woods’ reign as the world No. 1 gave way to a vote for common sense last week.
At the year’s final meeting of the Player Advisory Council in Las Vegas the group set the ballot for Player and Rookie of the Year. Ballots will be mailed to players following the season finale at Walt Disney World Resort. “Most guys think (Jim) Furyk (Player of the Year) and (Rickie) Fowler for rookie,” said one member of the 16-man PAC.
Even better than that lineup was news the Tour has scrapped the curious Comeback Player of the Year award. “No comeback anymore,” the PAC member said. “We thought it was dumb and after (Steve) Stricker won it twice . . . pointless award.”
Agreed, but then it’s not giving John Daly much of a reason to turn his game around now is it?
GM/Doral. Reports that the auto giant wants back in the play-for-pay game and is set to assume sponsorship of the tournament at Doral were good news for Tour types and all who love the circuit’s annual South Beach stop.
GM had been associated with the PGA Tour since 1984 but bolted the golf scene this year as it restructured and repaid $6.7 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds.
Although the Doral stop hasn’t been the same since it was co-opted by the World Golf Championships establishment in 2007, the addition of GM – word is the event will be tied to the Cadillac brand – is a good sign. Before the WGC took over the Ford Championship at Doral was among the circuit’s best mid-major stops.
Troy Merritt. Last year’s beanpole Q-School champion is back in the spotlight. He’s currently leading the Kodak Challenge, the $1 million lottery ticket that concludes in two weeks at Walt Disney World Resort, and, even more compelling, he’s 121st in earnings and trying to avoid a return trip to the fall classic.
“I’m not thinking about the money. I’ve never seen that much money,” Merritt said of the Kodak cash which, one reporter pointed out, would push the Boise State alum’s annual income past that of Broncos head coach Chris Petersen.
“Coach Petersen works a lot harder than I do,” Merritt laughed.
Perhaps, but then Petersen won’t have to hit a 6-iron off that blue turf over a water hazard to earn his $1M.
Tweet of the week: @RyanPalmerFDN “Just lost a player in my foursome to a fractured clavicle. Guess I am going to have to give him more shots.”
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Fall Series. Hard to argue with the product following consecutive weeks of game-winning heroics at the Frys.com Open (Rocco Mediate) and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (Jonathan Byrd), we just wish there was a little better flow to the fall.
To begin with the Viking Classic, played opposite the Ryder Cup this year, would benefit from a standalone date and the current two-week Asian swing adds to the scheduling confusion and a calendar that lacks any competitive continuity.
The stories have been compelling, the golf captivating. Now if we could just fix the calendar.
Japan Golf Tour. The circuit announced this week it will begin testing for recreational drugs after a tour member, Australian Wayne Perske, was arrested for suspected cocaine possession.
We applaud any move to clean up the game, but isn’t that like tinkering with the grooves in irons in an attempt to keep players from hitting 300-yard drives? Oh, wait.
World Golf Ranking. It’s probably taken about six months longer than it should have, but the convoluted math will finally spit out a new alpha male on Monday.
Martin Kaymer can end Woods’ five-year reign as the top-ranked player with a victory or runner-up finish at the Andalucia Masters. If the German falls short, however, Lee Westwood will assume the top spot even though he’s completed just one stroke-play event (T-11 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships) since July’s Open Championship.
In a related item, Boise State announced the team will not play a football game next season and was immediately granted a spot in the 2012 BCS title game.