Tiger Woods, for those not paying attention, has had a hell of a 2013, what with five PGA Tour wins in 12 starts so far. The world No. 1, himself, terms his year without a major but more regular-season victories than any of his colleagues a "great season," and reigning Masters champ Adam Scott says the polls are closed on player of the year voting.
"It's hard to pass up looking at five wins," Scott told reporters Wednesday on the eve of The Barclays, the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events, about what criteria voters should use to choose the season’s best. "That's a great year to win that many times ... If you think winning a major is what you base success on, then if you haven't, you haven't had a great year.
"But winning," Scott added. "I've always based it around winning events, and I don't think one major makes up for five tournaments."
Still, there’s that not-so-minor sticking point about the 14-time major titleholder finishing up his fifth season without cadging that elusive 15th major. And just to be clear, while Steve Williams’ man conceded he had no chance to challenge Woods for all-time wins ("It’s just not going to happen, so I really don’t think about it"), he stated in no uncertain terms that he would not give his green jacket back for those five Ws.
"I'd rather have [my season], that's for sure," Scott, who in April became the first Australian to win at Augusta, said with a smile. "I really don't know. He may want mine. I mean, No. 15 is proving to be difficult for him, so that would have given him that. But they have all got to get tougher the more you get."
Woods, who’s major-free since winning the 2008 U.S. Open, can certainly attest to that.
In the meantime, and on second thought, the 79-time tour winner may not be the shoo-in for PoY honors that Scott originally contended. Phil Mickelson, second only to Woods in the official world rankings, deserves his share of consideration, especially if Lefty, who last month earned his first Claret Jug and has the Waste Management Phoenix Open victory on his resume as well in 2013, were to hoist his first FedEx Cup after the Tour Championship finale at the end of next month.
"I would assume he would win at least one more tournament if he were to win the FedEx Cup. You'd have to think so," said Scott, who presented a pretty sound "either/or" argument.
"It's a tough one, all the different equations with who had the better year. Two wins and a major is a pretty strong showing. I think if that was the way it ended up and Tiger still had five, that's a pretty good argument," he said. "That's a pretty fair argument to throw Phil in the mix."
Five holes into his opening round at Liberty National Golf Course, following a weather delay, Woods made his first birdie, a 2 on the par-3 14th (he started on No. 10), to move to 1-under, just two shots back of early leaders Kyle Stanley and Kevin Stadler. Another bird on the 15th and Tiger was hot on the tail of those at the top of the leaderboard.
Scott was slated to tee off the first hole at 3:25 p.m ET, while Mickelson would follow the Masters champ at 3:36 p.m.