But the other major champions in 1998 were not worthy of serious consideration. Lee Janzen's only victory was the U.S. Open. Vijay Singh tacked on the International a week after winning his first major at the PGA Championship.
The other major winners this year were Masters champion Trevor Immelman, who like Janzen had no other victories; and Woods, whose four-month ledger is comparable to Tom Lehman's career.
Along with winning the U.S. Open, he was second in the Masters. The only other tournament Woods failed to win was the CA Championship at Doral, where he tied for fifth. He won the Buick Invitational by eight shots, the Accenture Match Play Championship by a record score (8 and 7) and the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 25-foot birdie on the final hole.
Woods sat out the entire month of May after a knee surgery, then missed the final three months of the season because of another operation. He still finished second on the money list, and didn't give up the lead until there were two tournaments left.
That's how dominant Woods was the first half of the season.
But over the second half of the season, Harrington's golf was special.
"A vote for Tiger is essentially saying that had there been no knee injury, he would have won one of the majors that Padraig did," Miller wrote. "But there is no assurance that Tiger would have won the British or PGA, and you can't give him credit for winning the majors he didn't play."
This might be one time the players agree with Miller.
Duval, the subject of such a debate 10 years ago, reached a similar conclusion Tuesday afternoon. Woods' record in only six tournaments is worthy of consideration four wins, one major, no finish worse than fifth, second on the money list.
"It sure looked like it might have been a walkaway," Duval said. "But the fact is, he didn't play. Who knows what would have happened? You're assuming he would have played that way all year. I don't think that's fair for a player who played all year and won two majors."
Lee Westwood suggested this month that Harrington did not have the most consistent year or he would have wrapped up the Order of Merit in Europe without having to play the final month.
But when asked about player of the year, he returned to Harrington.
"Any player that wins two majors in a year has to be classed as the best of the year," Westwood said.
If he doesn't win, perhaps Woods can aspire to something else never accomplished.
Along with being a perennial candidate for player of the year, Woods might be a shoo-in next season for comeback player of the year.