by Jeff Skinner
For some reason the PGA Tour has elected not to award a Comeback Player of the Year but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any worthy candidates.
There was a time when we all thought the only award that Tiger Woods would never have a chance of winning would be Comeback Player of the Year. But we certainly know that Tiger has had plenty to come back from. Woods finally broke through for his first win in three years with a great season. He won three times on tour and only world number one Rory McIlroy had more. Woods also climbed back to number two in the world rankings. Normally a three win season would be heralded as an ideal season but with Tiger it’s all about the majors. He is still looking for his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open.
Ben Curtis had a wonderful season as he once again won on the PGA Tour for the first time since his two win season in 2006. It seems impossible that Curtis won the Open Championship so long ago in 2003. But 2012 was a breakout year for Curtis with a win at The Valero Texas Open and three top tens including a second at The Players Championship. In 2011 he finished 133rd in Fed Ex Cup points but this year bounced back with a 29th place finish and won $2.5 million with a 30th place finish on the money list.
Both Woods and Curtis could truly be considered 2012’s Comeback Player and maybe Woods could be called the A Flight Winner and Curtis the B Flight but the overall award wouldn’t go to either of them. For my money it goes to a player that really made a comeback.
J.B. Holmes is my Comeback Player of the Year and it isn’t for the numbers he put up on the course. OK, he made 20 cuts, two top tens and finished 80th on the money list in 25 events and while it was a good season it was far from his best. But this is the comeback of comebacks for Holmes as he missed a good part of last season when he had brain surgery in September.
Holmes spent the off season recuperating from “brain decompression surgery” and he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to compete on tour again. Well this season he put any doubt to rest and he looked like the Holmes of old with his long drives averaging over 309 yards.
Tiger’s and Ben’s seasons were noteworthy but J.B.’s was something way beyond wins and stats and money lists. It was a victory of the human spirit and Holmes walks the fairways with a new appreciation for his life and all the things in it. It’s simple…Comeback Player of the Year…J.B. Holmes.