2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year

LUKE DONALD- Shouldn’t really be up for debate, as Luke answered a lot of critics with his clutch win at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic to take the money title.

However, the PGA Tour decided to delay sending out the ballots until after the just completed HSBC Champions event in China which does not have official $ status, but does have official win status on the PGA Tour (a nice thing for Martin Kaymer). After winning the final regular event, Donald made reference to the delay in sending out the ballots being an indication that there may be an American born player bias that could steal it away from him. Let’s hope not as the numbers are in his favor.

Donald, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley are the only 3 with a shot and it should go to Donald as he is ahead or tied with those two with in every important category except Major wins (where Bradley leads with 1). All 3 have two PGA Tour wins in 2011, including Donald’s World Golf Championship Match Play Title where he won 6 straight matches. What separates Donald is more top 3s, top 10s, fewer missed cuts, more $ won (total and per event), and a lower scoring average (total, vs the field AND lower in the Fed Ex Cup playoffs).

Here are the key numbers to consider:

Results

Player Wins Top 3 Top 10 Missed Cuts
Donald 2 6 14 2
Simpson 2 5 12 3
Bradley 2 2 4 10

Money

Player $ Events $/Event
Donald $6 683 214 19 $351 748
Simpson $6 347 353 26 $244 129
Bradley $3 758 600 28 $134 236

Scoring

Player Scoring vs field Playoffs
Donald 68.86 -2.17 -39
Simpson 69.25 -1.70 -33
Bradley 70.26 -0.73 -1

Donald and Simpson were the most consistently high performing players on tour, but Donald leads or is tied with Simpson in all the most important categories, so the edge clearly goes to Donald.

Keegan Bradley had a great rookie campaign and clearly deserves Rookie of the Year, but outside his two wins, he was not nearly as good as Donald or Simpson the rest of the year trailing Donald by nearly $3 million in earnings and 1.4 shots in scoring average (including 38 shots higher than Donald in the playoffs).

Here is to hoping that Luke Donald’s fellow professionals do the right thing and give him the 2011 Player of the Year title.

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