by Jeff Skinner
The PGA Tour announced that Australian Stuart Appleby has been selected as the Comeback Player of the Year. The very popular Appleby had a very tough year in 2009 when he fell out of the top 125 on the money list for the first time since he was a rookie in 1996. Appleby had to use his onetime exemption for finishing in the top 25 of the money list to play full time on the PGA Tour this year.
Appleby entered an exclusive club when he shot a magical 59 on his way to victory in the Greenbrier Classic. The win was his first on tour since 2006. He managed three top tens on tour this year and placed 38th on the PGA Tour Money List representing a great improvement from his 2009 finish of 137th. Appleby had a great international season also as he won the JBWere Masters in his home country. Appleby certainly deserved consideration for this award but as to the average viewer it may have appeared he really didn’t travel very far to comeback from. He did play in 25 PGA tournaments in 2009 but his mediocre play left him down on the money list.
With all respect to the Tour and Appleby, my pick would have been Rocco Mediate. Ok, so Rocco didn’t finish with the numbers that Appleby had. He only made ten cuts in 25 tries and managed only one top ten. But that top ten was a win at The Frys.com Open. The 48 year old Rocco played “must see golf” when he eagled a hole everyday to shock not only himself but the entire golf world as he won for the first time in eight years. The win gave Rocco an exemption to play on the PGA Tour until he qualifies for the Senior Tour. Watching Rocco win was one of the season’s best moments. Rocco summed it up the best,” “Do you believe what just happened out there? I have a job again.”