I’m still trying to figure out why Henrik Stenson isn’t getting any love as a real contender for PGA Tour Player of the Year. Everyone seems to be of the understanding that Tiger Woods has the award already wrapped up, with Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott battling for second fiddle. I would go so far as to say that Woods shouldn’t be a lock to win and Stenson should definitely be in the conversation.
All four men are certainly deserving of their nominations –Matt Kuchar is the other nominee, but I don’t see him as having a legitimate shot at winning. Each of the four serious contenders has gone about obtaining their nominations in slightly different manners. Woods picked up five PGA Tour wins in 2013 but failed to win a major. It doesn’t matter what events are on that list of five wins, it’s still a pretty darn impressive feat.
Mickelson and Scott both picked up major titles and added one more victory each to their tallies. Scott, of course, became the first Aussie to win the Masters. Mickelson turned in one of the most impressive major championship performances in recent memory en route to his win at the Open Championship. Both men faded from contention from time to time, as well.
Stenson was solid throughout the year but came on like a bat out of hell to close the season. He recorded eight top 10 finishes in 21 starts – which means that he finished inside of the top 10 in 38% of the events he played. Two of those top 10 results were in major championships. He won two events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs – the Deutsche Bank Championship and the TOUR Championship – on the way to taking home the FedEx Cup title. Stenson finished second on the money list (behind Woods) and fourth in adjusted scoring for the year.
If the award is meant to go to the best player over the entirety of the season, Stenson deserves to be considered one of the favorites. The Swede only missed two cuts all year, and his worst result in an event where he made the cut was a T43 at The Barclays. He bounced back from that to win the very next week.