By Alex Myers
This year's PGA Tour Player of the Year Award stirred plenty of debate. Whether you agree or disagree with Tiger Woods being voted the winner by his peers for a record 11th time, one thing is certain: His 2013 (five wins, including the Players and two WGC events, but zero majors) easily trumps many other winning seasons since the award was created in 1990. Here's a look back at the five worst campaigns to take home the Jack Nicklaus Trophy:
5. Greg Norman (1995): The Shark captured his lone Player of the Year award after winning the Memorial, Hartford Open and NEC World Series of Golf, a precursor to the World Golf Championships. He led the PGA Tour's money list and won the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average. A great year by a great player, but certainly a step below what Woods accomplished in 2013.
4. Jim Furyk (2010): Furyk's Tour Championship win gave him the FedEx Cup and made him the only player with three wins during the season. He didn't claim a major, though, and Matt Kuchar walked away with the Vardon Trophy and money title -- not factoring that $10 million bonus, of course.
3. Wayne Levi (1990): A former World No. 1, Levi won four tournaments (Western Open, Canadian Open, Hartford Open and BellSouth Classic) in 1990, but still couldn't steal the money title from Greg Norman. And quality won out over quantity as Nick Faldo won the points-based PGA of America Player of the Year that year.
2. Luke Donald (2011): During Donald's career year he topped the money list and claimed the Vardon Trophy. However, he only won twice, at the Transitions and at Disney. Meanwhile, Keegan Bradley also won twice, including the PGA Championship, but only walked away with the Rookie of the Year Award. To be fair, Donald also played great in Europe, winning the European Tour money title. But his two wins on the PGA Tour were not exactly at big-time events.
1. Fred Couples (1991): Freddie gets the nod for having the worst campaign of anyone to win the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award and it's not even close. In 1991, he won twice, led the tour in scoring average and was third on the money list. Cory Pavin, who also won twice that year and finished first on the money list, took home the PGA of America's Player of the Year. What were Couples' wins? The St. Jude Classic and the B.C. Open. Um, yeah.
So there you have it. Non-major winners take home the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award a lot. In fact, four of the past five winners didn't win a major that year.
As for Woods, this is the third such occasion he's pulled off the feat. While he didn't take a step closer to Jack Nicklaus' major mark in 2013, he certainly shouldn't feel bad about adding to his pile of Jack Nicklaus Trophies.