Tour to delay mailing of player of the year ballots
Monday, October 24, 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The PGA Tour player of the year race isn’t over yet.
The Tour decided Monday to wait two weeks before sending ballots to the players because of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, a World Golf Championship event Nov. 3-6 that counts as official if a PGA Tour member wins it.
The plan was for the ballots to go out Tuesday until Tour officials realized a change in the schedule. A year ago, the HSBC Champions was played the week before the season-ending event at Disney. This is a non-Ryder Cup year, so the WGC event is two weeks after.
“It’s important because it’s an official win for a member, and that should hold the ballot open,” said Andy Pazder, the Tour’s chief of operations. “When we send out the ballot, we have a brief summary of the player’s year on the PGA Tour. It would be a glaring omission if someone won the tournament and that wasn’t on there.”
Luke Donald became a strong favorite for player of the year when he won Disney on Sunday, making six straight birdies on the back nine for a 64 to win by two shots. It was his second victory of the year – as many as six other players – and Donald also captured the money title and Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average.
Donald has said he likely would play in Shanghai if his wife has given birth to their second child.
PGA champion Keegan Bradley is the only multiple winner on the PGA Tour who also has a major. Bradley is among those playing in Shanghai next week. A win would give him three for the year, including a major and a World Golf Championship.
Also playing is Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who has not missed a cut this year. Schwartzel is not likely to be on the ballot now, but adding a world title to his major championship could make a difference.
“It could affect who’s on the ballot, and it could affect someone’s resume who is on the ballot,” Pazder said.
He said players still would have until Dec. 9 to return the ballots.
The HSBC Champions does not count toward the PGA Tour money list. Starting last year, the tour decided it would count as official if won by a PGA Tour member, including a spot in the Tournament of Championship in Hawaii.