PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The nominees for 2012 PGA TOUR Player of the Year were released on Monday -- Jason Dufner, Rory McIlroy, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods.
Players were nominated by the PGA TOUR Player Directors and members of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2012 eligible to vote. The balloting process ends on Nov. 30, with the winner to be announced in early December.
A quick look at each nominee:
JASON DUFNER: Won two events (Zurich Classic of New Orleans, HP Byron Nelson Championship), posted eight top-10s, finished 14th in FedExCup and fourth on adjusted scoring average
RORY McILROY: Won four events (The Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship), posted 10 top-10s, runner-up in FedExCup, won the Byron Nelson Award and Vardon Trophy for adjusted scoring average and Arnold Palmer Award as TOUR’s leading money winner
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Won two events (Farmers Insurance Open, TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola), posted seven top-10 finishes, won the FedExCup, finished third on official money list
BUBBA WATSON: Won one event (Masters), posted seven top-10 finishes, finished 13th in FedExCup and fifth on official money list
TIGER WOODS: Won three events (Arnold Palmer Invitational by MasterCard, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and the AT&T National), posted nine top-10 finishes, finished third in FedExCup and second in adjusted scoring average and second in official money list
Now it’s your turn: Who do you think will win this year’s Player of the Year?
Watch Bubba Watson curl in an approach shot on the 188-yard second hole.
Phil Mickelson makes a nice recovery for birdie on the third hole at The Olazabal Course.
Luke Donald plays a brilliant second shot into the par-5 third hole. Did he make an eagle?
By Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR staff
GUANGDONG, China -- As Masters champion Bubba Watson's interview in advance of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions concluded, Keegan Bradley's interview quickly began.
Only, Watson wasn’t done with the media gathering. He decided to ask Bradley, who is left-eye dominant, about a unique feature of his putting routine.
“As one of your biggest fans, the public would like to know what are you looking at when you're reading putts,” Watson said.
Bradley was quick to take the bait. “Well, if I explained it to you, then I'd have to kill you. So I don't want to … give you any of my secrets.”
“Okay, look, I'm going to leave the room,” Watson persisted. “You tell the rest of the world why you're doing that and whatever you're doing when you do that?”
Bradley wouldn’t budge. “Listen, it's the stink eye; don't get in the way of it,” he said. “It will burn you.”
Watson then wondered if Phil Mickelson, Bradley’s frequent practice round and Ryder Cup partner, would adopt the habit.
“He was actually doing it today,” Bradley said.
“Since he's left handed, does he go the other way?” Watson said.
“ Yeah, he goes the other way. Thank you, Bubba,” Bradley said, and the interview – at last that portion of it – was over.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- With seven members of the European team playing on the PGA TOUR, and the other five making regular appearances in the United States at majors and World Golf Championships events, the Ryder Cup isn't the same bitterly divided affair it was several decades ago.
Just because friendships now cross continents and oceans, though, doesn't mean the Ryder Cup has lost any of its passion. Just ask Ian Poulter, who says he loves the Ryder Cup more than any other event in the world.
"It means too much to Europe; it means too much to us for it ever to lose that edge," he said. "This event is unique. ... I hate to say we don't get on for three days, but there is that divide, and it's not that we don't like each other. We are all good friends, both sides of the pond.
“But there's something about Ryder Cup which kind of intrigues me how you can be great mates with somebody, but, boy, do you want to kill them in Ryder Cup."
The fiery Poulter's choice of words may have been somewhat unfortunate, igniting a small flurry in the tabloid press. But the Brit is clearly in his element, even though he knows the Chicago crowd likely won't be kind.
"It's going to be intimidating, but it's going to be brilliant," Poulter said. "I couldn't or wouldn't want to be in any other situation this week. It fills you full of pride and passion to go out there. Yes, there is a divide this week, and there should be a divide this week; but Sunday night, we'll all have a beer together and enjoy what hopefully should be a great spectacle."
Bubba Watson understands Poulter’s passion. He's the son of a Green Beret -- the last time his late father saw him play golf was at the 2010 Ryder Cup -- and this week is his chance to represent the United States and honor the military, in the process.
"As a fan of golf, Ian Poulter is an amazing story," Watson said. "Love Ian Poulter to death. It's amazing watching where his career started and where it is now. It's amazing to listen to him talk about where he picked up range balls, he worked in the pro shop, did everything, and now he's at the Ryder Cup. So I love his passion, I love, I respect him very much, and I love how passionate he is about winning it. ...
"That's the same way our team is. And again, it's the little gold Ryder Cup is what we're trying to get, and again, it doesn't matter who it is that I'm facing. I don't really care who I'm facing. ...
“We're not trying to disrespect or make fun of any other player. It's just we're trying to win that trophy, and his passion is about that trophy just like our passion is about winning that trophy."
Check out the top five shots of the week from the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola featuring highlights from Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
On the eve of the FedExCup Playoffs finale, 10 percent of the 30-man field re-signed multi-year equipment contracts with Ping.
Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood and Bubba Watson – Nos. 6, 8 and 11 in the standings coming into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola – all have been longtime Ping staffers and will stay that way, the company announced Wednesday.
Westwood, 39, has played Ping clubs for 27 years, while Watson has played the company’s clubs since he was a teenager. Oosthuizen made arguably the shot of the year by holing out an S56 4-iron from 255 yards out on the second hole at Augusta National on Sunday -- the fourth double eagle in Masters history.
Ever wonder what is demanded within a full-line equipment contract? In a release, Ping said that the three stars will wear the company’s name on hats and bags and play a minimum of 11 Ping clubs, including a company driver and putter.
DIVINE NINE: Do you have any clubs in your bag that are 9 years old, or older? Golf.com discovered that Phil Mickelson used a 9-year-old Titleist 980F 5-wood at the BMW Championship, replacing his Callaway Razr Fit 5-wood. When Mickelson first used that club, he was still a Titleist staff player. He moved to Callaway in 2004 and has mostly played that company’s clubs ever since, but with Phil being Phil, you never know what will resurface in the bag.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
For those in the top 5 of the FedExCup standings heading into this week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the formula is simple: Win, and you win the FedExCup, too. Everyone else, meanwhile, needs help.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five players who I think could come from outside the top 5 and win the FedExCup:
Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6): There are a couple of reasons to like Oosthuizen’s chances. First, he doesn’t need a lot of help to win the FedExCup by virtue of being No. 6 in the standings. With an extra week off he should also be fully recovered from a minor pectoral injury he played through at the BMW Championship. Oosthuizen plays big in big spots (see his 2010 British Open victory, this year’s Masters, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational) and has been in a groove in the Playoffs with a couple of top-5 finishes, including a runner-up in Boston.
Dustin Johnson (No. 7): Three Playoffs tournaments, three finishes in the top 6. You could argue that no one outside of Rory McIlroy has been as consistent as Johnson in the postseason. If there’s a concern, it’s that Johnson has never fared particularly well at East Lake, failing to finish in the top 20 in three trips. I think this year will be different, though. Johnson’s length is of course a huge asset, but his iron play has been very good in his last three starts with Johnson ranking in the top 10 in greens hit.
Jason Dufner (No. 10): The Duf has cooled a bit since a midseason run that included two wins and two other top-5 finishes in five starts, but a return to Atlanta should spark the 35-year-old. Dufner has a history of playing well in the South -- one of his two victories this year came in New Orleans, and he lost a playoff at the 2011 PGA Championship at nearby Atlanta Athletic Club. He doesn’t have a great track record at East Lake, having tied for 13th last year and 19th in 2009 in his only two appearances, but he loves Bermudagrass, is one of the best drivers of the ball on TOUR and is one of its best ball-strikers. He’s also having the best putting year of his career.
Bubba Watson (No. 11): Another player who doesn’t have a great record in this event, Watson makes up for that by the fact that he’s having a career year. He won another pretty significant tournament in the state of Georgia in April and has five other top 10s, including a pair of runner-up finishes, to go with his Green Jacket. Watson has been good -- not great -- in the Playoffs so far with three finishes in the top 12. As far as Watson hits it -- he leads the TOUR in driving distance -- he’s also third in greens in regulation. If he can straighten out his putter, Watson should be a factor at East Lake.
Carl Pettersson (No. 17): The length at East Lake, which he is playing for the first time, shouldn’t affect Pettersson, who ranks in the top 40 on TOUR in driving distance. Like Dufner, he, too, is a guy who tends to play well this side of the Mason-Dixon Line (see: his win at Hilton Head and tie for third at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island). It’s also been a big year for those who wield a long putter. It’s certainly a longshot at 17th in the standings but as we saw with Bill Haas, who was 25th going into East Lake, it’s certainly a possibility.
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Bubba Watson, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Watson to win the
FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the following
scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes T-6 or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes in T-4 or worse
> Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes T-3 or worse
> Phil Mickelson (No. 4) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) finishes T-2 or worse
SEASON IN REVIEW: Watson captured the attention of the golf world in April when he curved a shot out of the trees on the right side of the 10th fairway and beat Louis Oosthuizen on the second hole of sudden death at the Masters. The victory was the fourth of his career and one of six top-10s so far in 2012. He also tied for second at the Travelers Championship, a tournament he won in 2010. Watson, who made news off the course when he and his wife Angie adopted a son, has two top-12 finishes in the Playoffs, along with one missed cut. -- Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Watson's results in the first three events of the 2012 FedExCup
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Watson has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: This is Watson's fourth start in the TOUR Championship, having played the event each of the last two years. Watson's best finish is a tie for 17th in 2010. He also finished 30th in 2008 and tied for 23rd last season.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
This is the most enigmatic man on the PGA TOUR. I never have a feel for how Bubba is going to play. I think he's done a great job handling both his victory at the Masters and a new baby this year. His length will play well at East Lake.
PLAYER PAGE: Click here for more on Bubba Watson
Now it’s your turn. How do you think Watson will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?