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Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott Vie to be 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year

Phil Mickelson, left, shakes hands with Adam Scott, right, as Tiger Woods, center, watches at the 10th tee during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament.

By Jim McCabe

When it comes to measuring candidates for player of the year, one should focus on the tournaments that mean the most and have the strongest fields. To some, Tiger Woods falls short because he failed to win any of the major championships, but to be fair – and a lot of folks aren’t when it concerns Woods – you need to throw the net out a little wider.

The Official World Golf Ranking assigns what it calls an “event rating” to all the professional tournaments, which measures the strength of field. When you use the OWGR rating system to select the 10 deepest fields of the year, it offers a clear indication that Woods would have to be considered the leading candidate for player of the year honors.

Forget for a minute that Woods has won five times this year; consider that three of them came in tournaments that ranked in the top 10 for toughest and deepest fields. He won The Players, which ranked fourth, and a pair of WGCs, the Bridgestone (sixth) and Cadillac (seventh). Only Adam Scott (Masters, which ranked fifth; Barclays, ninth) won more than once from these select events.

The other winners of tournaments that featured the 10 deepest fields were Phil Mickelson, Open Championship; Jason Dufner, PGA; Justin Rose, U.S. Open; Matt Kuchar, Accenture; and Henrik Stenson, Deutsche Bank.

If you take those seven players and consider how each of them did in these 10 marquee tournaments, you will find some stretches of excellence, but again, the edge goes to Woods. Scott and Stenson – who, like Woods, played in all 10 – were both top five in five of these tournaments, while Kuchar and Mickelson had three each.

Let the final two FEC playoff tournaments play out. If Scott or Mickelson win another one and capture the top prize, then give them your vote and let your conscience be clear. But Woods’ excellence in the 10 top tournaments makes him the present frontrunner.

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