NORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods, under his revised definition for success, believes he has had a great year even though he failed to win a major. Two of Woods’ colleagues, both of whom hope to stop the world’s top-ranked player from notching his sixth PGA Tour win of the season at this week’s Deutsch Bank Championship, wholeheartedly agree.
"I don't think there's any other choice than Tiger Woods," defending champ Rory McIlroy, speaking with reporters following Wednesday’s pro-am at TPC Boston, said about the competitor who had won his vote for Player of the Year.
"Five wins and obviously being very dominant this year. And he's got a four- or five-point lead in the World Rankings, won more money than anyone else," added McIlroy, who’s winless so far in 2013. "I don't see how it could be anyone else."
Adam Scott, who’s precisely 4.94 points behind Woods in the OWGR and will tee it up with No. 1 and No. 3, Phil Mickelson, in the first two rounds of the next leg of the FedExCup playoffs, concurred -- for now.
"At this point, I mean I think he does. He's won five events. That's quite dominant, I must say," offered Scott, who said pretty much the same thing before he went out and beat Woods and three others by one stroke at The Barclays on Sunday.
"It's hard to pass up looking at five wins," Scott told reporters a week ago in Jersey City. "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 observed then, "I've always based it around winning events, and I don't think one major makes up for five tournaments."
Scott leapfrogged Mickelson in the rankings and FedExCup points race with his victory at Liberty National, the first of four playoff tourneys, and termed himself the "third wheel" in his marquee Deutsche Bank threesome, which is slated to tee off on No.10 at 8:40 a.m. ET on Thursday. Still, while the first Australian to win at Augusta would cast his PoY ballot for Woods if the election were held today, the reigning Masters titleholder suggested we had yet to hear from all precincts.
"The year is not over, but if you ask me right now, it's hard to say anyone's played better than [Woods] for the whole year," Scott said Wednesday. "I'm trying my best to play better than him. It's not an easy job, let me tell you, he plays good."
Not well enough to win a major, however, and the lack of a 15th grand-slam event on Woods’ resume gave Scott pause before crowning his upcoming playing partner outright.
"Yeah, I think it does, absolutely," Scott said with a laugh about whether a golfer with a major and another tour W (which both Scott and Mickelson have this year) would edge out one with five regular-season triumphs. "It absolutely does."
Though Scott noted that the players themselves spend far less time worrying about such issues than those on the sidelines, he said he attempted to come up with a fool-proof "formula" so solve the Player of the Year puzzle.
"I don't know. Absolutely all I can do is try to go win more. Maybe two wins might do it, I'm not sure. I don't know what the other players are thinking," Scott concluded. "But it's great to even have my name in the mix and I'll try and keep it there until the end of the year."
For those who relish such mathematical equations, here’s a paint-by-numbers crib sheet for the three players most likely to be in the mix come the end of the 2012 campaign.
- 5 tour wins
- 1st in world rankings
- T4 at the Masters
- T6 at the British Open
- T2 at The Barclays
- 0 missed cuts in 13 starts
- 0 major wins
- 2 tour wins
- 2nd in world rankings
- 1 major victory (Masters)
- T3 at the British Open
- 6 top-10 finishes
- 0 MC in 13 starts
- 2 PGA Tour wins
- 3rd in world rankings
- 1 major victory (British Open)
- T2 at U.S. Open (for a record 6th time)
- 1 European Tour win (Scottish Open)
- 7 top-10 finishes
- 3 MC in 18 starts