tiger-us-open

Paddy Harrington is a nice player and had one helluva year, there’s no debating that, and I can understand the arguments for him being the rightful PGA Player of the Year, but I’m just not seeing it, I’m sorry. Tiger, even in a half-season, was so dominant and electric that it would’ve taken a 2004 Vijay Singh-esque season to eclipse what he did, and yes, I realize that the Big Fijian only won one major that season, but wins make a world of difference, especially wins in tourney’s with the best fields.

Doesn’t that sound counter-intuitive to my argument? Yea, it does, and yes, two majors is an incredible feat, albeit one with a giant asterisk. But lets delve deeper into Paddy’s season in the biggest events…5th at The Masters, ok, that’s a good start for him, but he followed that with a missed cut at The Players, the fifth major. A 36th place finish at the US Open isn’t terrible, but the thing that really irks me is completely falling apart at the end of the season and being a total non-factor in the FedEx Cup and didn’t come close to contending in the two WGC events, Match Play and Bridgestone.

Yes, he had two majors, but just looking at his season, he was pretty much a non-factor for the rest of it.

Here’s where Tiger comes into my argument…what’s the ONE indelible image you have from the 2008 golf season? That putt at 18 on Sunday at Torrey Pines to send the US Open into a Monday playoff. Or the ridiculousness that was the Saturday eagle/chip-in fest, whatever, it was all such a surreal weekend, that it seemed scripted, straight out of a movie.

Compare that to the Open…a FANTASTIC 5-wood shot, Greg Norman’s douchery and bad setup decisions by the R&A. Compare that to the PGA…a great putt, a Sergio choke job and an absolute dog of a course that should be stricken from the PGA rota. I’m a golf addict, and while the PGA was exciting, these were two of the more disappointing majors I’ve seen in awhile.

Now lets look at Tiger’s year. It’s a well known fact that he only plays in tourneys with top fields. How did he finish? Demolition at the Buick, a sampler platter of all the great Tiger shots at Match Play, that putt at Bay Hill, finishing 5th at Doral, where he couldn’t putt for shit, 2nd at The Masters and then the US Open. That’s 1, 1, 1, 5, 2, 1.

Lets take a look at the money list, where in SIX events, Tiger still finished above Paddy, and 2nd overall, only behind that Crunchy Fijian. I’m sorry, but how does a guy who wins TWO majors still finish that far behind? Oh, that’s right, because he spent a large chunk of time in Europe, which doesn’t count here, and didn’t do much else.

I see the gaping holes in my argument, so don’t bother to correct me because it’s just my opinion that Tiger was the best golfer this year. The first half of this season was completely dominated by Tiger Woods, and just because he didn’t finish out the season doesn’t discount that reality. Paddy Harrington’s success was, in my opinion, like scoring the final goal of a hat trick when the opposing goalie is pulled, winning, but without the biggest obstacle in his way.

The way Tiger simply obliterated fools, on a gimpy knee no less, has to make you think that he’d have a say in those two championships, even if there’s nothing for certain. We can’t be positive that Tiger would be around the leaderboard, but his game was so outrageously immaculate in pretty much every phase that it’s hard to see him not contend. Does Paddy win with Tiger there? Who knows, but what I do know is that Paddy didn’t put up any fight when Tiger was going crazy earlier this year.

Paddy played an entire season of golf and contended less than half the time. Tiger played half a season and the lowest he finished was 5th. I have to give the nod to Tiger.

I know it sounds like I’m not a huge Padraig Harrington fan, which is partly true, I don’t find him captivating or especially fun to watch, but I don’t hate him like I hate Adam Scott and Camillo Villegas. But, if we’re giving him the trophy based on his later-half results, I’d even go as far as to argue that Anthony Kim, Vijay and Sergio Garcia were more impressive and could even make a case for Camillo based on his high finish at the British and his FedEx Cup run.

So they gave the guy who had two great weekends over the summer over a guy who dominated the entire golf landscape for the entire year, even when he wasn’t playing. Over the guy who gave us probably the greatest US Open in history and provided so many ridiculous highlights over half a year that it became routine. Excuse me if I’m sounding redundant here, but two great weekends doesn’t make an entire year especially when the rest of his year was so bland. Sorry, but I think the ball was dropped here.

Tiger gets enough love as it is, some deserved, some not, but in this case, I just don’t see a couple of historic trophies and nothing else overwhelming a half season of domination in a sport that’s almost impossible to dominate with images that no golf fan will ever forget. That’s why, in my opinion, the PGA made the wrong choice here.

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