Ernie Els, at age 40, is a leading contender for Player of the Year
With the four majors of the year in the books, it is time to see who the leading candidates are for Player of the Year.
This year more than ever, the winner could be one of a number of players. No one has had a dominant year on the PGA tour this year.
No one has won more than twice, and all four of the majors were won by different golfers. The World Rankings, perhaps more than any other year, will have no bearing on the winner this year. Neither No. 1 ranked Tiger Woods or second ranked Phil Mickelson will win Player of the Year in 2010.
Usually by the time the PGA Championship is over, we have a pretty good idea who will win the award. Not this year.
Tiger Woods is the defending winner of the award, and has won it nine of the last 11 years.
There are actually two awards gven out for player of the year, but historically the golfer who wins one wins the other as well. One is given by the PGA of America, and the other is given by the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour Player of the Year is the newer of the awards, and has been given out since 1990.
Since that year of 1990 only once have the two differed on a winner. That was 1991, when the PGA of America gave the award to Corey Pavin and the PGA Tour chose Wayne Levi.
Here are who I believe are the top ten candidates to win this year's two awards.This list is in no particular order.
Interesting to note, none of the winners of the four majors made the list.
Stricker is Mr. Consistent.
He won early in the year at the Northern Trust Open in February, and again in July at the John Deere Classic.
Ranked fourth in the world and second in FedEx Cup points behind Ernie Els. Stricker will be a major cog on the American Ryder Cup team once again, and has a legitimate shot at being player of the year.
Rose started out 2010 like he does most years on the PGA Tour, with erratic play and a fair amount of frustration. But about the time May rolled around, Rose's season started to take a dramatic turn for the better.
A win in early June at Jack Nicklaus' tournament at Muirfield Village, Rose followed it up a month later with a win at the AT&T National in July.
It has been steady, consistent play from Rose for a good two-month stretch, although lately his game has cooled a fair amount.
I don't think the eight weeks of great golf will be enough to get Rose the Player of the Year in 2010, but maybe Comeback Player of the Year?
A late-season injury may keep Westwood from winning Player of the Year, but it has been a great year for the Englishman nonetheless.
A win at the St. Jude Classic in June, Westwood has threatened to win more all year. Six top 10s in just 11 tournaments entered, including a second place at the Masters and the British Open.
Westwood is ranked third in the world. He probably won't win, but look for him again to be at the top of his game in 2011.
Coming off the nightmare finish at Whistling Straits, Johnson has still had a solid, break-out year on tour.
He won the AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach and had five top 10s overall.
A little bit concerning to Johnson fans may be the final day of both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship this year. Johnson was in great shape going into Sunday at Pebble Beach in June only to blow up with a 82 under pressure and finish in a tie for eighth.
At The PGA Championship he played well on Sunday, but the two-stroke penalty cost him a chance to get into the playoff with winner Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.
What is troubling is not the penalty, but the putt he made to (what we all thought) was win the tournament on the 18th. It was about a six footer that he missed badly. Pressure in big moments could be something to watch in Johnson's future.
Watney made 17 cuts in 19 events, including six top 10s. He has not won this year, but had two top tens in majors, seventh at the Masters and seventh at the British Open.
Watney took a lead into the final round of the PGA Championship only to shoot an 81 and drop into a tie for 18th.
Watney has definitely come into his own, and the shaky final round at Whistling Straits should be forgotten quickly as he will represent the U.S. in Wales at the Ryder Cup.
At 40-years young, Els is having a great comeback year. In fact, it's been so great, he may very well end up winning Player of the Year.
Els sits atop the Fed Ex Cup standings and has most of the year. He has won twice and finished in the top 10 six times.
Ernie also has a third place at the U.S, Open at Pebble Beach back in June.
In a year no one dominated the sport to any degree, Ernie is the odds on favorite to sneak in and steal the Player of the Year.
Furyk's year has been highlighted by two wins, one at the Transitions Championship in March and the other in April at the Verizon's Heritage.
Six top 10s in all and third in the FedEx Cup Standings. Jim played well at the PGA Championship over the weekend until Sunday, when he shot a 77 and finished in a tie for 24th. It was overall a fairly forgetful year at the majors for Furyk.
He's most likely not the Player of the Year, but he must be mentioned. He will help anchor the U.S. Ryder Cup team in October.
It was an impressive year for the big fella. He made 18 of 21 cuts and had nine top 10s, although no wins.
He does have a second, two thirds, and finished sixth at the U.S. Open. He is currently ninth in Fed Ex Cup Points.
He won't win player of the year, but it was a breakout year for the 32-year-old.
It's hard to give Player of the Year to a guy who hasn't won, and it's unlikely they will, but Overton has had a solid year.
The 27-year-old had three second place and two third place finishes. He is sixth in the FedEx Cup standings.
Mahan has had two wins this year but has been inconsistent. He has had only three top tens overall (the fewest of anyone in the top 15 of the Fed Ex Cup Standings) and he has missed the cut six times.
Again, he is not likely to win Player of the Year, but has had a fairly solid year. Have I said that before?
I'm getting the impression there wasn't a Player of the Year this year, but someone has to win it. Don't they?