There's a Lot of Balance if Woods Isn't Beaming

Times Staff Writer

So this is what happens when Tiger Woods doesn't win a major. Parity. At least that's what made the Tour Championship interesting for a while, until neither Woods nor Vijay Singh won it and thus failed to settle the player-of-the-year issue once and for all.

Come to think of it, did anybody back in January ever link the words Tiger, Singh and player of the year?

It's all Tiger's fault anyway. In 2003, Woods did not dominate the PGA Tour in his usual manner. Not only did Singh take the money title away from Woods, who had won it four consecutive years, but he also served notice that there are a lot of other players out there who think they can stand up to Woods, at least on paper.

There were eight multiple tournament winners this year on the PGA Tour, and it should not be a surprise that Woods has more victories than anyone with five.

What should be a surprise is that none of those wins was in a major championship.

Usually, the player-of-the-year category contains only one name, that being Woods, as he has won it the last four years and five of the last six.

Singh had four victories, as did Davis Love III. Kenny Perry had three, the same as Mike Weir, who won the Masters. Nobody else won more than two times and Jim Furyk, the U.S. Open champion, is also in that group.

With Woods, Singh and Love, it's the first time since 1973 that three players have won at least four times in one year. Jack Nicklaus had seven, Tom Weiskopf five and Bruce Crampton four in 1973.

Woods already has won the PGA of America's player-of-the-year award, for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year. That award is based on performance in tournaments, scoring and money winnings, not on players' votes the way the PGA Tour's award is.

By the way, Woods also had the lowest scoring average for a record fifth consecutive year.

But the debate raged on, whether too much is made of who wins the majors or too little. No one would be talking about this at all if Woods had won one of them. He would be the obvious choice for the award when it is announced Dec. 8.

Is there too much emphasis on the outcome of four tournaments four weeks a year? It depends on who's winning them.

For instance, nobody really thought it was odd that Weir won at Augusta National, even though he was the first Canadian and first left-hander to do that. Weir is an acknowledged talent.

And no one raised a hand to protest Furyk's victory at Olympia Fields, although he is probably the first player to win the U.S. Open with a swing that looks as if he found it at a garage sale.

No, the debate was shifted into high gear when Ben Curtis won the British Open at Sandwich and Shaun Micheel won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Because neither player has finished in the top 10 in any tournament since, some have relegated their success to the fluke bin.

However you come down in the conversation, it's a fitting simile for 2003 on the PGA Tour. Strange or wonderful, take your pick.

Let us return to January and the friendly Plantation Course at Kapalua on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Ernie Els found it much to his liking, so much so that he shot 31 under par, a PGA Tour scoring record in relation to par, and won by eight shots.

He also won the Sony Open in Honolulu the next week, which qualifies for a fast start. Els didn't win after that, not on the PGA Tour anyway, although he dominated the European Tour, winning the Order of Merit for the lowest scoring average.

But when Els got off to his fast start in Hawaii, Woods wasn't even playing.

Woods had knee surgery in December and didn't make his comeback until mid-February at Torrey Pines. Tiger won. Two weeks later at La Costa, he won again. His next tournament was at Bay Hill, where he would finally match up, face to face, against Els. Tiger won there by 11 shots. Els shot 72-77 on the weekend and tied for 38th.

Move on to the next huge issue in 2003, the Masters protests. The National Council of Women's Organizations had let it be known that there would be protests during the Masters in response to the lack of any female members at Augusta.

Even with such disparate interests as the Ku Klux Klan and Jesse Jackson involved, the protest didn't turn out to be much, and in fact was attended by more media members than protesters.

There was no shortage of news or unexpected events the rest of the year.

Annika Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years to play a PGA Tour event when she entered the Colonial in May, despite the spirited objections of Singh, who announced he would withdraw if paired with Sorenstam, even though there was no chance of that happening according to the rules. Ultimately, there became an even greater reason for Singh's not being paired with Sorenstam: He abruptly pulled out of the tournament.

Furyk persevered at Olympia Fields, which the players thought was too easy at the start of the week and then too hard at the end of it.

Curtis was the longest of shots at Sandwich, but only if you call being the 396th-ranked player in the world a longshot. But because Woods and Singh failed to catch him, Curtis won out. The lasting picture of Sandwich, though, is sure to be Thomas Bjorn, the hard-luck Dane, leaving two shots in a bunker at the 16th hole with the lead Sunday.

Until Micheel's unexpected PGA victory at Oak Hill, the most many knew about him was that he looked sort of like Chad Campbell. When Micheel won at Oak Hill, he looked sort of $1,080,000 richer.

John Daly made news again, at least by association, when his wife, five days after giving birth to his son, was indicted along with her parents on drug and illegal gambling charges in Mississippi. Daly somehow won the Korean Open in October, but then pulled out of the last two PGA Tour events of the year to take care of personal issues.

A record 72 players, led by Singh with $7.57 million, earned at least $1 million. Hank Kuehne averaged a record 321.4 yards off the tee. Furyk had 59 rounds in the 60s, more than anyone else. And Pate Bates, Neal Lancaster, Spike McRoy and Esteban Toledo all played in 35 tournaments, also more than anyone else.

Other comings and goings: David Duval went; Craig Stadler came, won and went back to the Champions Tour; Bob Tway came and won for the first time in eight years; Jay Haas came up with a career year at 49; Scott Hoch came back the next day and won a playoff carried over because it was too dark for him to see the ball, and Peter Jacobsen came back to Hartford at 49 and won the same tournament 19 years later.

If that's a routine year, well, that's parity for you.

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

2003 PGA TOUR RESULTS

*--* Date Tournament Champion Jan. 9 -- 12 Mercedes Championships Ernie Els Jan. 16 -- 19 Sony Open in Hawaii Ernie Els Jan. 23 - 26 Phoenix Open Vijay Singh Jan. 29 - Feb. 2 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Mike Weir Feb. 6 - 9 AT&T; Pebble Beach National Davis Love III Pro-Am Feb. 13 - 16 Buick Invitational Tiger Woods Feb. 20 - 23 Nissan Open Mike Weir Feb. 26 - March 2 WGC-Accenture Match Play Tiger Woods Championship Feb. 25 - March 2 Chrysler Classic of Tucson Frank Lickliter II March 6 - 9 Ford Championship at Doral Scott Hoch March 13 - 16 The Honda Classic Justin Leonard March 20 - 23 Bay Hill Invitational Tiger Woods March 27 - 30 The Players Championship Davis Love III April 3- 6 BellSouth Classic Ben Crane April 10 - 13 The Masters Mike Weir April 17 - 20 The MCI Heritage Davis Love III April 24 - 27 Shell Houston Open Fred Couples May 1 - 4 HP Classic of New Orleans Steve Flesch May 8 - 11 Wachovia Championship David Toms May 15 - 18 EDS Byron Nelson Championship Vijay Singh May 22 - 25 Bank of America Colonial Kenny Perry May 29 - June 1 Memorial Tournament Kenny Perry June 5 - 8 FBR Capital Open Rory Sabbatini June 12 - 15 U.S. Open Jim Furyk June 19 - 22 Buick Classic Jonathan Kaye June 26 - 29 FedEx St. Jude Classic David Toms July 3 - 6 100th Western Open Tiger Woods July 10 - 13 Greater Milwaukee Open Kenny Perry July 17 - 20 British Open Ben Curtis July 17 - 20 B.C. Open Craig Stadler July 24 - 27 Buick Championship Peter Jacobsen July 31 - Aug. 3 Buick Open Jim Furyk Aug. 7 - 10 The International Davis Love III Aug. 14 - 17 PGA Championship Shaun Micheel Aug. 21 - 24 WGC-NEC Invitational Darren Clarke Aug. 21 - 24 Reno-Tahoe Open Kirk Triplett Aug. 28 - Sept. 1 Deutsche Bank Championship Adam Scott Sept. 4 - 7 Bell Canadian Open Bob Tway Sept. 11 - 14 John Deere Classic Vijay Singh Sept. 18 - 21 84 Lumber Classic of J.L. Lewis Pennsylvania Sept. 25 - 28 Valero Texas Open Tommy Armour III Oct. 2 - 5 WGC-American Express Tiger Woods Championship Oct. 2 - 5 Southern Farm Bureau Classic John Huston Oct. 8 - 12 Las Vegas Invitational Stuart Appleby Oct. 16 - 19 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro Shigeki Maruyama Oct. 23 - 26 Funai Classic Vijay Singh Oct. 30 -Nov. 2 Chrysler Championship Retief Goosen Nov. 6 - 9 The Tour Championship Chad Campbell

*--*

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

MONEY LEADERS

*--* Rank Player Events Money 1 Vijay Singh 27 $7,573,907 2 Tiger Woods 18 $6,673,413 3 Davis Love III 23 $6,081,896 4 Jim Furyk 27 $5,182,865 5 Mike Weir 21 $4,918,910 6 Kenny Perry 26 $4,400,122 7 C. Campbell 27 $3,912,064 8 David Toms 26 $3,710,905 9 Ernie Els 17 $3,371,237 10 Retief Goosen 19 $3,166,373 11 Brad Faxon 27 $2,718,445 12 S. Appleby 27 $2,662,538 13 Bob Tway 26 $2,601,600 14 C. Howell III 31 $2,568,955 15 Jay Haas 25 $2,563,545 16 Jonathan Kaye 27 $2,474,837 17 Justin Leonard 23 $2,450,525 18 Chris DiMarco 27 $2,350,630 19 Scott Verplank 26 $2,306,714 20 Nick Price 17 $2,271,111 21 Steve Flesch 33 $2,269,630 22 Briny Baird 33 $2,202,519 23 Chris Riley 29 $2,178,133 24 Robert Allenby 24 $2,176,452 25 Tim Herron 29 $2,176,390 26 Jerry Kelly 30 $2,158,342 27 Fred Funk 33 $2,144,653 28 J.L. Lewis 31 $2,039,259 29 Kirk Triplett 25 $2,001,561 30 K.J. Choi 32 $1,999,663 31 Rocco Mediate 24 $1,832,656 32 Shaun Micheel 28 $1,827,000 33 Bob Estes 25 $1,824,414 34 Fred Couples 18 $1,820,495 35 Stewart Cink 28 $1,781,885 36 Tim Petrovic 32 $1,739,349 37 S. Maruyama 28 $1,669,292 38 Phil Mickelson 23 $1,623,137 39 John Rollins 27 $1,612,314 40 Jeff Sluman 31 $1,609,748

*--*

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

WORLD RANKINGS

*--* Rank Player Events Points 1 Tiger Woods 40 16.29 2 Vijay Singh 58 10.18 3 Ernie Els 55 8.85 4 Davis Love III 49 8.10 5 Jim Furyk 52 7.58 6 Mike Weir 46 7.06 7 Retief Goosen 60 6.14 8 Kenny Perry 53 5.61 9 David Toms 53 5.54 10 P. Harrington 48 5.23 11 Darren Clarke 55 4.84 12 Nick Price 40 4.52 13 Phil Mickelson 51 4.30 14 Chad Campbell 62 4.04 15 Stuart Appleby 60 3.99 16 Justin Leonard 50 3.75 17 Fredrik Jacobson 45 3.70 18 Robert Allenby 57 3.70 19 K.J. Choi 63 3.65 20 Brad Faxon 53 3.63 21 Charles Howell III 66 3.54 22 Adam Scott 59 3.34 23 Jonathan Kaye 55 3.29 24 Scott Verplank 52 3.28 25 Paul Casey 52 3.24 26 Jay Haas 49 3.20 27 Bob Tway 54 3.19 28 Chris DiMarco 56 3.19 29 Chris Riley 57 3.15 30 Jerry Kelly 59 3.07 31 Rocco Mediate 47 3.04 32 Thomas Bjorn 49 3.03 33 Sergio Garcia 53 3.03 34 Fred Funk 65 3.02 35 Stephen Leaney 49 2.96

*--*

*The average number of points earned per event in the last 104 weeks. These points are awarded based upon finish position as well as the strength of the field. The points are initially worth double their original value and decline gradually over this two-year period. There are 8 13-week periods, and points decline by .25x their value each period.

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

DRIVING DISTANCE

*--* Rank Player Rounds Average 1 Hank Kuehne 71 321.4 2 John Daly 56 314.3 3 Phil Mickelson 80 306.0 4 Darren Clarke 54 304.9 5 Ernie Els 60 303.3 6 Vijay Singh 102 301.9 7 Sergio Garcia 57 300.9 8 Mike Heinen 88 300.8 9 Brenden Pappas 103 300.3 10 Mathew Goggin 86 299.8 11 Deane Pappas 73 299.5 11 Tiger Woods 68 299.5 13 Retief Goosen 64 299.4 14 Andrew Magee 89 299.3 15 Davis Love III 79 299.2 15 Adam Scott 46 299.2 17 Todd Barranger 75 298.8 18 Harrison Frazar 85 298.7 19 Carlos Franco 97 298.0 20 Brian Bateman 67 297.2 21 Jason Gore 83 296.7 22 Jonathan Kaye 88 295.9 22 Ty Tryon 50 295.9 24 Jonathan Byrd 101 295.3 25 Jason Caron 71 295.2

*--*

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

SCORING AVERAGE

*--* Rank Player Rounds Average 1 Tiger Woods 68 68.41 2 Vijay Singh 102 68.65 3 Mike Weir 75 68.97 4 Ernie Els 60 68.99 5 Jim Furyk 101 69.10 6 Retief Goosen 64 69.20 7 Davis Love III 79 69.41 8 Kenny Perry 97 69.57 9 Chad Campbell 102 69.68 10 Robert Allenby 80 69.75 11 Fred Couples 67 69.81 12 David Toms 81 69.86 13 Scott Verplank 96 69.88 14 Darren Clarke 54 69.91 14 Jay Haas 83 69.91 16 Loren Roberts 86 69.96 17 Bob Estes 91 70.06 18 Stewart Cink 100 70.08 18 Fred Funk 109 70.08 20 Briny Baird 109 70.12 20 Brad Faxon 95 70.12 20 Nick Price 62 70.12 23 Stuart Appleby 85 70.16 24 Justin Leonard 75 70.17 25 Charles Howell III 115 70.21

*--*

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

2004 PGA TOUR SCHEDULE

*--*

Date Tournament Champion Jan. 5-11 Mercedes Championships Kapalua, Hawaii Jan. 12-18 Sony Open in Hawaii Honolulu Jan. 19-25 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic La Quinta Jan. 26-1 FBR Open Scottsdale, Ariz. Feb. 2-8 AT&T; Pebble Beach National Pebble Beach Pro-Am Feb. 9-15 Buick Invitational La Jolla Feb. 16-22 Nissan Open Pacific Palisades Feb. 23-29 WGC-Accenture Match Play Carlsbad Championship Feb. 23-29 Chrysler Classic of Tucson Tucson March 1-7 Ford Championship at Doral Miami March 8-14 The Honda Classic Palm Beach, Fla. March 15-21 Bay Hill Invitational Orlando, Fla. March 22-28 The Players Championship Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. March 29-4 BellSouth Classic Duluth, Ga. April 5-11 The Masters Augusta, Ga. April 12-18 MCI Heritage Hilton Head Island, S.C. April 19-25 Shell Houston Open Houston April 26-2 HP Classic of New Orleans New Orleans May 3-9 Wachovia Championship Charlotte, N.C. May 10-16 EDS Byron Nelson Championship Irving, Texas May 17-23 Bank of America Colonial Fort Worth May 24-30 FedEx St. Jude Classic Memphis, Tenn. May 31-6 The Memorial Tournament Dublin, Ohio June 7-13 Buick Classic Harrison, N.Y. June 14-20 U.S. Open Southampton, N.Y. June 21-27 Booz Allen Classic Potomac, Md. June 28-4 Western Open Lemont, Ill. July 5-11 John Deere Classic Silvis, Ill. July 12-18 British Open Royal Troon, Scotland July 12-18 B. C. Open Endicott, N.Y. July 19-25 Greater Milwaukee Open Milwaukee July 26-1 Buick Open Grand Blanc, Mich. Aug. 2-8 The International Castle Rock, Colo. Aug. 9-15 PGA Championship Kohler, Wis. Aug. 16-22 WGC-NEC Invitational Akron, Ohio Aug. 16-22 Reno Tahoe Open Reno Aug. 23-29 Buick Championship Cromwell, Conn. Aug. 30-6 Deutsche Bank Championship Norton, Mass. Sept. 6-12 Bell Canadian Open Oakville, Canada Sept. 13-19 Valero Texas Open San Antonio Sept. 17-19 Ryder Cup Detroit Sept. 20-26 84 Lumber Classic of Farmington, Pa. Pennsylvania Sept. 27-3 WGC-American Express Ireland Championship Sept. 27-3 Southern Farm Bureau Classic Madison, Miss. Oct. 4-10 TBD Oct. 11-17 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro Greensboro, N.C. Oct. 18-24 FUNAI Classic Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Oct. 25-31 Chrysler Championship Palm Harbor, Fla. Nov. 1-7 The Tour Championship Atlanta

*--*

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
74°