09/22/2015

This Jason Day vs. Jordan Spieth “Player of the Year” has had me thinking all day, neh, all week. So, who’s the true MVP of the 2015 PGA Tour season?

The debate has been narrowed to two, indisputable candidates: Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. It’s Day’s Magic to Spieth’s Bird. Who’s Batman and who’s Robin?

With their given resumes, both are all-time status. They’ve both executed on seasons that are now compared to some of Tiger’s greatest (even though Tiger’s are still almost farcical). It’s been a treat to enjoy.

So here is a run down of some key metrics for dictating the POY voting and where a lot of eyeballs will be drawn at the conclusion of the season.

Jason Day

  1. 5 wins & 0 runner-ups (2 in the playoffs)
  2. 10 top-10s in 19 events played (52.6%)
  3. 6 top-3 finishes
  4. 1 major championship (2015 PGA Championship)
  5. $9,174,805 season earnings
  6. 2 missed cuts
  7. 69.163 scoring average (2nd on the PGA Tour)
  8. World #1 ranked golfer

Jordan Spieth 

  1. 4 wins & 4 runner-ups (0 in the playoffs)
  2. 14 top-10s in 24 events played (50%)
  3. 9 top-3 finishes
  4. 2 major championships (Masters & U.S. Open)
  5. $10,545,465 season earnings
  6. 4 missed cuts
  7. 68.984 scoring average (1st on the PGA Tour)
  8. World #1 ranked golfer

Two incredible seasons by two of golf’s preeminent superstars.

But I have an interesting question I feel we should be asking.

Should the FedEx Cup Playoffs count for Player of the Year standings?

The NFL has its MVP and it has a Super Bowl MVP. The NBA, NHL and MLB are the same way. The two are isolated awards from one another, neither play a role in the other. Go throughout sport. After all, wasn’t that the purpose of the FedEx Cup, to emulate other sports and their postseason play?

If Day takes home the Cup, he’ll take home $10 million. And the FedEx Cup. Player of the Year honors to boot?

I understand the counterarguments to arise here.

In the major sports, the main prize is the end of the year hardware. A season without a Lombardi Trophy is viewed as failure by almost everyone in the NFL. The Stanley Cup is the only reason crazed men would be willing to lay their bodies, willingly, in front of frozen, flying bullets. The question for greatness is, simply, “how many championships do they have?”

In golf, it’s not about championships. It’s about majors. Well, sure, major championships. The FedEx Cup hasn’t been around even a decade. This isn’t the penultimate quest in the game. It’s a cash grab.

With the majors being the main objective, shouldn’t they be held in higher esteem? When looking at this year’s POY debate, I’m forced to give Spieth’s two majors the considerable advantage. 

I’m not convinced playoff victories should even be considered– that is, if the PGA Tour is trying to build the end of the year the way the other sports do.  Day’s had a phenomenal run. His last 6 starts have been magical. And he’s been compensated fairly. 

But the Player of the Year is Spieth.

Spieth’s play top-to-bottom was extraordinary. Four second places is noteworthy. He was a winner all year. And Day’s late heroics don’t change any of that.