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PGA Tour Confidential: Money Matters, Adam Scott's Win Down Under and the New Look for the Old Course

Phil Mickelson
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Golf Magazine's Player of the Year added a fifth major to his resume in 2013 -- the British Open at Muirfield.

5. After Phil Mickelson stated that he's likely to cut back on his schedule in 2014, he then chooses to play Abu Dhabi, rather than the Bill Clinton-supported Humana event. Reactions?

SHIPNUCK: Yawn. Pro golfers like money, and if offered enough they'll peg it at the Hades Open. But Phil better not whine about being tired later in the year...

PASSOV: I'm not going to judge any of these semi-independent contractors too harshly on the decisions they make. I'm sure not going to single out Phil Mickelson, who has more than paid his career dues. He can come and go as he pleases as far as I'm concerned. For crying out loud, though. For a historic, newly inspired U.S. PGA Tour event that needs all the help it can get, one that's a two-hour drive from his house, it's pretty sad that Lefty would pass that up in order to fly to the Middle East -- then come right back and play in San Diego. Does he really need another appearance fee at this time of his life? 

MORFIT: The PGA Tour's ban on appearance money is always in the news early in the year, when the Euro Tour stops in the oil-rich Middle East. Nothing new here. 

SENS: See above comment about the corrosive effects of too much money in the game. Not good when the bigger purses and appearance fees play such a defining role in who plays where, when.

WALKER: Mickelson has supported the Palm Springs event the last couple years since President Clinton got involved. But as Tiger said about the Shanghai event last week, the players are independent contractors. We can’t hold two guys responsible for the success of every PGA Tour event.

VAN SICKLE: It's not as if the Humana is one of the great stops on the PGA Tour. Also, you can bet that Phil is going overseas for a hefty fee. A guaranteed million (or probably more) versus a guaranteed nothing? It's called business.

6. Where does Adam Scott's win at the Australian PGA rank? On par with Mickelson's Scottish Open win? Given the global nature of the game and the endless season, should we wait until the calendar year is done to anoint a “Player of the Year”?

PASSOV: Wonderful, convincing win on a mediocre resort course. There was a modicum of pressure involved, in that his first return to Australia since winning the Masters was much ballyhooed, and there were a handful of world-class players teeing it up (save Brandt Snedeker, felled by a Segway mishap). Impressive, but not quite to the level of Mickelson at Castle Stuart for the Scottish Open. It raises the question, though, that if a player of Scott's stature wins some of the Aussie "majors," and/or an Asian or South African biggie towards year-end (summer in that part of the world), shouldn't that count towards possible world player of the year honors? Yes, it should.

VAN SICKLE: If you're talking PGA Tour Player of the Year, that season ended in October. If you're talking global Player of the Year, yes, you should wait til the end of the year. Suppose Scott wins a couple more before '13 concludes?

WALKER: We should wait until the end of the year to anoint a Player of the Year, and, yes, the Australian PGA adds some more luster to Scott’s already strong POY case (Masters win, T3 at British, T5 at PGA). Tiger, Mickelson and Scott all submitted POY-worthy seasons, which is why 2013 has been so much fun.

SENS: Not nearly as surprising/noteworthy as Phil's win at the Scottish Open, which was a watershed for Mickelson -- showing that he could win on links courses. But yes, given golf's fast-changing schedule and the shift of influence overseas, it makes sense to wait longer in the year before announcing the POY.

MORFIT: Nah. That's the thing about pro golf in this day and age. The season never ends and the calendar year's strict start-stopping points mean less than ever. Keep it as it is. 

SHIPNUCK: It's a great win for him and all of Australia, on par with Phil's triumph in Scotland. And yes, POY should be based on the calendar year. That's why the GWAA award is valuable, because we vote at the end if the year. And because I value the opinion of the writers more, too. 

The PGA Tour Confidential debate continues Monday on our new weekly show hosted by Jessica Marksbury. Tweet her your questions @Jess_Marksbury.

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