Why Tiger Woods Will Be the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola at East Lake Golf Club on September 21, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The fact that anyone could even question whether Tiger Woods should be named the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year is simply baffling.

Earlier this week, the PGA Tour announced the five nominees for the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year award. They are:

  • Tiger Woods (Five wins)
  • Match Kuchar (Two wins)
  • Phil Mickelson (Two wins including the Open Championship)
  • Adam Scott (Two wins including the Masters)
  • Henrik Stenson (Two wins and the FedEx Cup title)

Kuchar and Stenson are on this list for no reason other than the PGA Tour needed to fill out its ballot with five names. Scott and Mickelson are the only other players who even enter the conversation, because they each won majors during the 2013 season.

However, even Scott and Mickelson are still trailing three cars behind as Woods heads toward his victory lap and a record 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award.  

Woods won five PGA Tour events this season, including two World Golf Championships and a win at the Players Championship (regarded by some as golf’s "fifth major").

Woods won the money title as well as the Vardon Trophy for the tour's lowest adjusted scoring average and has already been named the 2013 PGA of America Player of the Year.   

In the 16 events Woods played during the 2013 season, he had 10 top-10 finishes and five wins, which is a mind-blowing 31.25 winning percentage.  

Since 1980, only two players not named Woods have won five or more PGA Tour events during a single season—Nick Price (1994) and Vijay Singh (2004)­—and 2013 was the 10th time Woods has accomplished this feat since turning pro in 1996. (Ernie Els has had multiple seasons where he has won five or more times worldwide, but he has never won five or more events on the PGA Tour during a single season.)  

The only reason anyone would view the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year race as anything other than a landslide victory for Woods is if he or she were comparing Tiger Woods to Tiger Woods.

Was 2013 a great season for Woods when compared to 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, etc.?


But was Woods’ 2013 season head and shoulders above everyone else’s on tour?

Of course.

In fact, outside of Woods, only five other players in the past 20 years have had seasons comparable to his 2013 season.

They would be Price in 1994, when he won two consecutive majors (the Open Championship and the PGA Championship); Mark O’Meara in 1998, when he won the Masters and the Open; Mickelson in 2005, when he had four wins, including the PGA; Singh in 2004, when he won nine times, including the PGA; and Padraig Harrington in 2008, when he also won two consecutive majors (the Open and the PGA).  

Take all of Woods’ previous accomplishments out of the picture, and his 2013 season would almost certainly be considered one of the top six or eight greatest PGA Tour seasons of the past 20 years.

Here is a hypothetical comparison: What if Scott had won two tournaments, including a major, during the 2013 season and Mickelson had won five times (including two WGCs and the Players Championship), won the Vardon Trophy, won the money title and had a winning percentage of 31.25 percent? Would there even be a conversation as to who the Player of the Year was?

Tiger Woods is the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year, and he should win it by a landslide.  

While 2013 wouldn't’t even make a list of Woods' personal top five season, this award is not about comparing Tiger Woods to Tiger Woods.  It is about comparing Woods' 2013 season to those of his peers. In that context, it becomes abundantly clear that his 2013 season was head and shoulders above the rest.

The golf world may be void of interesting stories at the moment with the FedEx Cup having concluded last week and the Presidents Cup not beginning until October 3, but trying to convince anyone that the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year race is even remotely close would be the equivalent of trying to convince a baseball fan that a 35-2 game in the bottom of the eighth inning is a real nail-biter.

This ship has already sailed, and Woods is sitting in the captain's seat alongside his 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award.