Luke Donald’s amazing run at Disney overcoming a 5 shot deficit at the start of the final round and winning by 2, draining 6 consecutive birdie putts on the back nine appeared to have locked up the Player of the Year AND the PGA Tour Money Title AND the European Tour Money Title for 2011.
Nobody can take the historic double money titles away, as they are based on math and math doesn’t lie.
However, the PGA Tour in all of their sometimes questioned wisdom decided to change some scheduling at the last minute in an obvious attempt to give the trophy to an American.
I’m as much of an America-centric guy as anyone but, fair is fair.
OR IS IT?
The fact is that the date the ballots need to be returned was left unchanged, December 9th, 2011 is and has been the date that Donald’s PGA Tour Peers need to have their ballots turned in.
The decision to delay the ballot for Player of the Year on the PGA Tour this week was, in my opinion…bigotry.
At first glance the Tour’s decision stunk to high heaven. Most would look at the move as switcharoo with the only intention being to give Keegan Bradley a shot or even give Webb Simpson another shot at taking down “King Luke” (Steve Flesh’s name not mine, I like it though).
As of today, Luke Donald owns the Player of the Year, and all the money, taking down a total of $6,683,214 on the US Tour and the equivalent (in USD) of $5,395,866 on the Euro Tour – Grand Total $12,079,080 WOW!
PGA Tour Losing Influence
The PGA Tour is fighting comments like the one from Chubby Chandler stating that the Asian Tour will be bigger than the US Tour in the next 10 years.
There is an AWESOME $13,000,000 (CIMB and Shanghai Masters)up for grabs this weekend alone in Asia.
That said, as much a Luke Donald Lover I am and many US Golf Fans are, I do believe heavily in self preservation.
The US Tour is, quite possibly doing the best thing for the good of the Tour.
The $12 Million Dollars Luke earned this year, is a lot of money as a matter of fact, it’s Tigeresque money. When that much dough is gobbled by a single player, in a single year, there is the potential of a significant power shift.
Luke Donald’s wife is about to give birth, most likely in the next few days, if there was ever a motivation for a guy to stay close to home, it’s a wife with a newborn saying it’s not his decision.
The fact is that Luke Donald could take his marbles home for a couple years.
Imagine for a moment, the PGA Tour decides to ship the Player of the Year ballots as scheduled and all the US Tour voters got them back early. Then Keegan Bradley goes over to the HSBC event and Wins, Stricker’s neck can’t go to Australia, and Bradley picks up 5 points in the Presidents Cup leading the US to a Victory.
I think if we were to fast forward a couple months and look back at Bradley’s then Amazing 2011 Season we would all agree that Bradley is the PGA Tour Player of the Year.
I’m not suggesting that Bradley can go out and “Win-On-Demand” like Luke Donald appears to have the ability to do, but, there is a possibility that this scenario, Bradley dominates HSBC and comes up big at The Presidents Cup, could create some regret in the voters.
The Rules Are Changing
Obviously, you’re going to say, lust like I did that, the rules are the rules and the ballots should have gone out on schedule and Luke Donald should be the player of the year.
Who says that this is a rule of golf?
This isn’t adding a 5th Major….this is a delayed mailing…
The PGA Tour is, in reality, a business. A business that has seen it’s marquee player crash into a fire hydrant and lose his super powers, a tour that is watching Phil Mickelson get a little older and suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis.
When a business decides to make a business decision, it is allowed to do so, this isn’t Russia. I know it’s a “non-profit” but really?
The PGA Tour’s business decision in this case actually may have absolutely nothing to do with Luke Donald, Ty Votaw, the Tour’s talking head said that this decision announcement was in place regardless of who won on Sunday at Disney.
Was he lying? Maybe…but here’s the deal.
The Player of the Year is a tool, a tool that the Tour uses to build value in it’s product. Building value in your product is rule number 1 in marketing and rule number 1 in self preservation is marketing.
The PGA Tour has two big goals right now:
1. Make the Fall Series a set of events that people watch
2. Build a presence in Asia
Finish reading about these goals and a further case as to why Luke Donald lost nothing when the PGA Tour delayed a mailing in Part 2…