Padraig Harrington sees this week’s Barclays tournament and the FedEx Cup play-offs as the perfect opportunity to top the PGA Tour money list.
The Irishman’s back-to-back majors at the Open Championship and US PGA Championship has opened a debate in golf as to whether he or world number one Tiger Woods should win the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award, a title voted for by the players themselves.
Woods made an impressive case for a fourth consecutive award and 10th in total before his season-ending knee surgery, winning four of his first six events in 2008 and then claiming the US Open title in sudden death at Torrey Pines playing with cruciate ligament damage in his left knee and a double stress fracture of the tibia in the same leg.
Harrington’s surge into the reckoning after major victories at Royal Birkdale and Oakland Hills in the last five weeks has sent him to fourth among the PGA Tour money leaders, trailing Woods by $1,477,269, and a successful FedEx Cup campaign, starting this week at The Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, could see the Dubliner top that money list and prove an emphatic point.
“To me there’s a great chance of winning the title Player of the Year, as there is of leading the Order of Merit,” Harrington said, explaining his motivation for the rest of the season.
“I’ve done it in Europe and it would be very nice to do it in the States. I think that’s number one: motivation.
“They are all good tournaments, and you want to win them. They are big tournaments and obviously I would have one eye on the world rankings, so that would be a definite motivation in it.
“I’d love to win, and I’d be very proud to win Player of the Year, but it has nothing to do with me.
“I get one vote and I know who I’ll be voting for and that’s as far as it goes.
“It’s not really something for me to get involved in. I don’t need to spend my energy, because it’s up to (the media) to generate the press about it.
“It’s up for, I suppose, the fans to discuss with themselves and try and figure it out, and then it’s up to the players to give the vote on how they feel about it.
“But how I feel about it, as much as I would love to win it, and I think it would be a great honour, there’s not much more that I can say about the merits of whether I should win or Tiger should win.
“Again, it’s about me doing my own thing and not getting distracted by these outside elements that I can’t control.”