Tiger Woods will finish in the voting for PGA Tour Player of the Year where he did on the tour’s money list and in the PGA of America scoring -- as a worthy runner-up to world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
On Monday, the tour unveiled its 2012 Player and Rookie of the Year nominees, and when the boys in Ponte Vedra tally the votes early next month, for sure McIlroy will top the ballot as the association’s best golfer. Tour members who played at least 15 official events this season have until November 30 to vote for the two honors.
McIlroy and Woods lead the field, which also lists includes three players with two 2012 wins apiece: Jason Dufner, Bo Van Pelt, and Brandt Snedeker. Masters champ Bubba Watson rounds out the heavy-hitting lineup.
Charlie Beljan, who overcame health issues to notch his first tour win last week at Disney, heads up the Rookie of the Year candidates. Frys.com Open winner Jonas Blixt, six-time top-10 finisher Bud Cauley, Mayakoba Golf Classic victor John Huh, and Greenbrier Classic titleholder Ted Potter, Jr. are the other RoY hopefuls.
As for Player of the Year, Woods makes a convincing case for his candidacy. The 74-time tour winner snapped out of an 0-for-three-year slump in March with a five-shot W at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He won two more times in 2012, and though he remains major-less since 2008, Woods moved ahead of Jack Nicklaus and into second place on the all-time victory list with a two-stroke decision at Jack’s Memorial Tournament.
Woods’ nine top-10 outcomes and third-place finish in the FedEx Cup series are PoY-worthy. Alas, the owner of 14 major championships will likely end up in the same place in the voting as in adjusted scoring average and the final official money list -- second to his new best friend.
McIlroy has already garnered the PGA of America’s PoY prize, thanks in large part to his eight-stroke rout at the PGA Championship. The Northern Irish half of golf’s power couple won the award based on points (100 to Woods’ 66).
Despite a mid-season funk that included a missed cut at the U.S. Open, McIlroy was the only four-time winner on tour, and as our colleague Adam Fonseca noted back in September, the 12-year-old Northern Irishman really clinched the tour PoY title with his one-shot squeaker at the Deutsche Bank Championship. McIlroy proceeded to go back-to-back when he eked out a two-shot advantage at the subsequent BMW Championship.
“Just another great week,” McIlroy said after his BMW win. “Just playing with a lot of confidence right now. I'm confident in my ability and confident with the shots that I'm hitting and confident on the greens. I'm making the right decisions out there, and everything is really just going to plan at the minute. It's a nice run to be on, and I want to try and keep it going for as long as possible.”
When all precincts are in, there is little doubt that McIlroy will do what he believes he was meant to do -- hoist the hardware.
“I'm getting to that stage where I'm thinking, ‘this is what I should be doing,’” he said at Crooked Stick. “‘I should be lifting a trophy at the end of the week.’”
Game, set, match to Caroline Wozniacki’s curly-headed boyfriend.