Luke Donald and the “Sketchy” PGA Tour

by Jeff Skinner

The last tournament of the PGA Tour season had all you could want and more.  There were players vying for spots in the top 125 on the money list to secure their cards for next year.  There was the chase to get into the top 30 which meant a trip to the majors next season and of course everyone wanted to win the last title of the year.

On top of that, everything had fallen into place for a mano y mano battle between Luke Donald and Webb Simpson for the money title.  As it worked out, Luke and Webb played together all four days and Donald made an historic charge to claim the win and the championship.  With his win it appeared that Donald had a step up on Simpson for the Player of The Year Award.  It was an amazing ending to a great season for Donald, Simpson and the PGA Tour.  Or was it?

In a surprise move the PGA Tour decided to delay sending out the ballots for POY until after the WGC HSBC Champions to be played in two weeks.  Wait a minute.  Isn’t that changing the rules after the game is over?  Now, the Tour decides it wants to include the WGC which isn’t a real tour event?  While the winner of the WGC-HSBC gets a two year exemption onto the PGA Tour the money isn’t considered official earnings.

A check of the PGA Tour schedule shows this event as a “Featured Event” along with this week’s CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia and The Presidents Cup.  So, they are not Regular Season events, Playoff events or Fall Series tournaments but The PGA Tour wants the players to consider the results in their voting for Player of the Year.

Luke Donald let his feelings on this change be known on Tuesday’s Morning Drive and even though he is always a perfect gentlemen his displeasure was obvious.  “Sketchy” he called the decision by the Tour to change the rules and he’s absolutely right.  It is just plain wrong for the Tour to do this now.  A move like this can’t help but be construed as a slap at Donald and maybe just a bit jingoistic.  Remember last year when winless Rickie Fowler took Rookie of the Year honors from Rory McIlroy who had a PGA Tour victory?  This couldn’t be the Tour’s way of trying to stack the deck for an American to win the award could it?

The Tour brass should be ashamed of themselves.  They may not have meant to but this is an insult to Donald who has been the epitome of what a Tour member should be.  Donald has been a member for 10 years and a poster boy for the Tour.  He has never been anything but a gentleman and always been a class act.  He is right to be upset with the PGA Tour and they should learn a lesson from this.  Even a kid knows you can’t change the rules after the game is played.


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