There are still plenty of tournaments left to play this season on the PGA Tour and enough time for players to make a claim for Player of the Year, but now that the majors are completed I think it’s a two-horse race between Collin Morikawa (TaylorMade TP5) and Jon Rahm.
And it’s really, really close. At this point I’d say it’s a pick ‘em.
Morikawa, winner of The Open Championship last week in his first time competing in that tournament, had already been having a decent season prior to his triumph in Britain. Morikawa has played in 19 tournaments and has accumulated just under $7 million in earnings. He tied for fourth in the U.S. Open, tied for eighth in the PGA Championship and tied for 18th in the Masters.
Rahm has played in 19 tournaments and has accumulated a bit over $6.7 million, though that is a bit misleading because he had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament because of COVID after the third round when he was coasting to an easy lead and record score. But he rebounded strongly to win the U.S. Open. So if the vote was taken today, the people casting the ballot would probably give that heavy consideration. He finished tied for fifth in the Masters, tied for eighth in the PGA Championship and tied for third in The Open Championship.
Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x) is in third place with just north of $6.2 million in 21 tournaments. The fact he hasn’t won a major this year makes it hard to think he could be Player Of The Year. He tied for third in the Masters, tied for 30th in the PGA Championship, tied for 19th in the U.S. Open and placed second in The Open Championship. But if you want to talk about Comeback Player Of The Year, Spieth would certainly be the consensus pick. Consideration could be also be made for Stewart Cink (Titleist Pro V1x), who has played in 26 tournaments and won twice. At age 48, he has been a feel-good story all season.
Had Louis Oosthuizen (Titleist Pro V1) won The Open Championship, I think he would have been Player Of The Year because that would have meant he had a win and two seconds in three of the four majors. He tied for 26th in the Masters, then went on a tear in the other three majors, finishing tied for second in the PGA Championship, second in the U.S. Open, in which one shot in the entire tournament cost him a chance at winning or tying for the lead after four rounds, and tied for third in The Open Championship. I’m not sure which result affected him more mentally and emotionally – the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. I have to think it was the U.S. Open because he was not on his game in The Open Championship and Morikawa was. The reality is it all comes down to results. It’s that simple, though the 37-year-old with the sweet swing might look back in later years and realize he played well. I think an argument could be made Oosthuizen is the Comeback Player Of The Year.
I think it will all be resolved in Tour Championship, September 2-5 in Atlanta.
Whatever happens before then, it has certainly been an exciting season on the PGA Tour.