It appears that if the PGA TOUR was indeed attempting to thwart any possibility of Luke Donald winning Player of the Year by delaying the vote until after the HSBC Champions, it is termed as a failure. A big failure.
Admit it. You thought there was a chance at it being such. I know it crossed my mind. And that’s sad. There were factors that worked in the favor of the theory, too. Granted, still a small chance, but it was there.
Remember how this all wormed it’s way into the stream?
Apparently, a journalist brought the idea to light after the tournament at Disney. A tournament that Donald entered solely for the purpose of winning that and becoming the money list king for 2012. The PGA pulled an about face and determined that since the HSBC Champions is a WGC event and was an ever-so-small factor in 2010′s vote, it would only be fair to include it in 2011′s version. If the winner of that event was a PGA TOUR member, it counts as an official win (bit the money doesn’t).
So here was the scenario previous to last Thursday. Donald and Webb Simpson were not competing. That part of the equation was simple. It’s the rest that gets pretty darn good.
Keegan Bradley (winner of two events including a major), Charl Schwartzel (Masters champ), Nick Watney (a two-time winner), and Bill Haas (TOUR Champ and FedEx Cup champ) were in the field. If any of those four were to win, some minds could be swayed from voting for Donald.
I’m not saying this was a conspiracy to “dethrone” Donald from his deserved perch, but things were looking screwy.
As it all played out, it didn’t matter. The closest player to create potential mayhem, Schwartzel. He finished T4. Next was Bradley at T16. Watney was T33 and Haas finished T42.
Now, let the ballots be issued and many votes should go Donald’s way. He deserves it. The manner in which he claimed the money title is almost movie worthy. I know it’s not an ending that was like what we witnessed at The Masters or Rory McIlroy’s performance at the U.S. Open, but Donald was, in a word, consistent. I’ll throw in another, impressive.
And when Donald collects his Player of the Year honor, he may want to send at least a thank you card to Martin Kaymer. Either that or an invitation to play some bingo online.