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Tour Delays POY Voting
The PGA Tour has decided to hold off sending Player of the Year ballots to its members until after the HSBC Champions next month in Shanghai, China.
The World Golf Championship event, slated for November 3-6, is considered official and, if a PGA Tour player wins it, could have an effect on the POY voting. The players now have until December 9 to return the ballots.
The Children's Miracle Network Classic was the final full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour and the last tournament that factored into the 2011 money list. Earnings made in the HSBC Champions do not count. But last year Tour officials decided it would count as official if the tournament was won by a PGA Tour member. The winner would also earn a spot in the season-opening Tournament of Championship in Hawaii.
The Tour originally was going to send out the ballots on Tuesday but decided hold off on the mailing. "It's important because it's an official win for a member, and that should hold the ballot open," said Andy Pazder, the Tour's chief of operations.
"When we send out the ballot, we have a brief summary of the player's year on the PGA Tour. It would be a glaring omission if someone won the tournament and that wasn't on there."
Among the favorites for the annual award is Luke Donald, who won Sunday's Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney World with a scintillating 8-under 64. With the victory, the top-ranked player in golf supplanted Webb Simpson atop the money list and gave Donald the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on Tour.
Simpson is also in the running for POY honors, as is Keegan Bradley, the PGA champion who also won the HP Byron Nelson Championship in late May.
Bradley and Masters' winner Charl Schwartzel, ranked 28th and 14th, respectively, in the latest World Golf Ranking, are slated to play in Shanghai. Donald said he will enter if his wife has given birth to their second child.
Eligible players have until 5 p.m. E.T. on the Friday of the week preceding the tournament to officially commit to playing.
Bradley is looking forward to the tournament in China. "Everyone's got nothing but great things to say," he told PGATour.com. "I would be honored to play. Every single person I've talked to says it's a great experience. They just said China's a really cool place and that the tournament treats you great and caters to whatever the player needs, which is really, really cool. I've played on a lot of mini-tours, and they do just about the opposite of that."
The possibilities of other top-ranked players entering the HSBC Champions could weigh on the ultimate POY winner. "It could affect who's on the ballot, and it could affect someone's resume who is on the ballot," Pazder added.