Sunday, October 16, 2011

Player of the year: Simpson or Donald?

   The player of the year battle on the PGA Tour has now come down to two -- Webb Simpson and Luke Donald.

   Right now, the momentum and maybe a shade more votes, are on Simpson's side after he went to the McGladrey Classic to jump Donald on the money list and did it, almost winning his third event in six starts in the process.

   Had Simpson won the Sunday playoff over Ben Crane at Sea Island, he'd be the player of the year favorite going to the season finale at the Disney World this week. As it is, he and Donald will have what amounts to a duel for the season-long money title and POY votes.

   The challenge falls to Donald now, who trails Simpson by $363,029 on the official money list. Donald's goal is to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles this season, something that's never been done and the fact he's so close to doing it speaks to how good he's been. He's the leader in the worldwide player of the year category, for sure.

   To beat Simpson for the money title -- a distinction that carries a bit of everlasting fame with it -- Donald can finish no worse than a two-way tie for second at the Children's Miracle Network event. Since he lives in the top 10 -- Donald has one win, two seconds, two thirds and 13 top-10s on tour this year -- he'll probably be tougher to escape than Mickey Mouse over the next week.

   For Simpson, this has already been a career-changing season. In the ever-popular best American player debate, the discussion may start with Simpson at the moment. It will be fascinating to see how he plays for captain Fred Couples at the Presidents Cup in Australia next month, his first international team play as a pro.

   When Donald committed last Friday to play Disney to chase the money title, Simpson followed suit. He is embracing the challenge and the moment, a hint of his confidence level.

   Both players have had brilliant seasons already. And they're not done yet.


Anonymous said...

winning the money list on both Us and European PGA tours has never "officially" been done. but that's only because Tiger is not and has never been a member of the European PGA tour. that said, i think he topped the European Tour money list 8 or 9 times, just by playing the world golf tournaments and the majors.