Manny Ramirez didn’t win the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award because he played only half a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. C.C. Sabathia didn’t win the National League’s Cy Young Award because he pitched only half a season with the Milwaukee Brewers. And Tiger Woods didn’t win the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year Award because his season ended in June after he won the U.S. Open, which you may have heard about.
Woods was the dominant force of the season’s first half — five wins, a runner-up finish and a fifth-place finish in seven events played worldwide — but Padraig Harrington deserved the Player of the Year award he won this week.The players got it right. Tiger’s abbreviated season was similar to Ben Hogan in 1953, when Hogan won the only three major championships he played and teed it up in just a few other events. There is no questioning Tiger’s dominance when he played, but he didn’t play enough. In baseball, you need a minimum of 502 plate appearances to win the batting crown. The Vardon Trophy, awarded for the best scoring average, requires a minimum of 60 rounds. Woods didn’t come close to that minimum; Sergio Garcia captured the Vardon.
Quantity counts for something. It was four PGA Tour wins for Woods, including one major title, vs. two major championships for Harrington, who swept the British Open and the PGA Championship. The choice is pretty simple. As Woods often points out, it’s major championships that matter.
If he could look past the dramatic nature of his win at Torrey Pines, do you think Woods would trade that one U.S. Open title for two major titles in 2008, the British Open and the PGA? In a heartbeat. Though he’s not a college graduate, Woods can handle math. Two is better than one.
Harrington deserved to be Player of the Year in 2008. Woods will have to settle for Player of All-time. Tough break, kid.