The PGA Tour’s two-week delay in sending members Player of the Year ballots was a matter of equity, according to Ty Votaw, the organization’s executive vice president of communications and international affairs.
“If this change wasn’t made you could have had members voting on incomplete information if they voted before HSBC,” Votaw, referring to the early November HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, said on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday. “It came down to a question of fairness.”
We know how “fair” Luke Donald believed the tour’s after-the-fact rationale for rewriting the rules of the game to be. On a Tuesday phone visit to the morning show, the 33-year-old Englishman called the snafu “sketchy, at best.”
Small wonder, since Donald seemed to wrap up PoY honors with Sunday’s come-from-behind win at one of the tour’s myriad season-ending finales. Indeed, the PGA of America anointed him its player of the year Monday, after the world’s No. 1 chalked up the W and the season’s money title — the same day the PGA Tour was set to distribute ballots for members to make their choices.
Then tour officials did a double-take and held up the selection process so voters could factor the upcoming China event into their decisions. If the brass in Ponte Vedra appeared to have been caught off guard, perhaps that’s because it took a reporter to point out that the Shanghai tourney was actually an official tour contest.
“A journalist contacted us on Monday to confirm whether HSBC was in fact an official victory,” Votaw said. “When asking that question, it focused us on what the impact of a potential victory at HSBC would be on information that membership would receive if ballots went out this week as opposed to going out after HSBC.”
The situation had nothing to do with Donald, who, Votaw said, put up an “exemplary performance” this season.The EVP even sought to erase any perception that the tour hoped to boost the PoY chances of PGA champion Keegan Bradley, an American playing in the early November HSBC event, over those of Donald.
“This is not about Luke Donald,” Votaw said. “The analysis would have been the same and the decision would have been the same if [American] Webb Simpson had won.
“It wasn’t an oversight brought up by a journalist,” Votaw added. “The journalist simply asked the question if HSBC was still an official victory.”
Perhaps if tour officials had realized when they published the 2011 schedule that the China affair would count as one of theirs if a current tour member won it, they would not, months later, have to cast about for ways to explain their careless miscue.