Consider it official: Tiger Woods won't win the 2006 Vardon Trophy.
In a season during which the world's top-ranked player accumulated two major championship titles, six other PGA Tour victories and has Player of the Year locked up, the award for best scoring average likely will find a home in Jim Furyk's trophy case, since Woods will fall at least one round short of the qualification guidelines.
Should Tiger care about winning the Vardon? Should he play one more event in order to qualify? Our experts debate those questions and more in this week's edition of Fact or Fiction.
Tiger Woods should play an extra event down the stretch to qualify for the Vardon Trophy.
Bob Harig, contributor, ESPN.com: FICTION. For Woods, it is all about winning tournaments. He has won eight of them this year on the PGA Tour, and he's got a big month coming up with visits to China and Japan. Also, he's trying to get some rest. He's won the Vardon six times. Jack Nicklaus never won it.
Ron Sirak, executive editor, Golf World: FICTION. It's up to Tiger to define what his goals are, and his goals are clearly to break Nicklaus' record of 18 professional majors and perhaps Snead's 82 career victories. He has never said he wants to win more Vardon Trophies than anyone else.
Jason Sobel, golf editor, ESPN.com: FICTION. The only trophies that motivate Tiger these days are referred to by names like Wanamaker and Claret Jug. Playing an extra event just to receive what is essentially another doorstop clearly isn't Woods' MO these days.
Brian Wacker, associate editor, GolfDigest.com: FICTION. When Tiger was asked if winning the Vardon Trophy meant anything, he responded, "Not much." That sums up its importance for Woods. For Tiger, at this point in his career, the only things that matter are winning majors and winning a select number of other tournaments. If he falls one round short, so be it. The bigger concern for the tour is what could be an apathetic attitude by the game's stars toward next season's FedEx Cup.
Fewer rounds should be needed to qualify for the Vardon Trophy.
Sobel: FICTION. Any top player, in any normal season, will play the 60 PGA Tour rounds necessary to qualify for the Vardon. This, however, was no regular season for Tiger, who missed nine weeks due to his father's death. The qualifications are fine, so much so that no one even noticed what they were before this became a story.
Sirak: FICTION. The minimum number of tournaments required to maintain your PGA Tour card is 15. Multiple that by four rounds and you get 60 rounds, which is the number used. If Tiger hadn't missed the cut at the U.S. Open, he'd have enough.
Wacker: FICTION If there should be fewer of anything, it should be the number of events that make up a season. That would place a higher value on the tour's season, and in the end (almost) everyone would benefit.
Harig: FICTION. You have to have some sort of minimum, or a player's scoring average would be skewed. The PGA Tour has set the minimum at 60 rounds, which would be 15 tournaments if a player made every cut. And 15 tournaments is the minimum number required for membership.
Pick to win -- Funai Classic.
Sirak: VIJAY SINGH. It's about time for Vijay to have one of those meaningless victories he earns so often. What better way for him to prepare to go in the World Golf Hall of Fame next week?
Wacker: DANIEL CHOPRA. Disney is the place where dreams come true -- at least for Ryan Palmer and Lucas Glover, both of whom got their first career wins there. Chopra has played well for three straight weeks and is having a career year with six top-10 finishes. All that's missing is a win.
Sobel: BRIAN BATEMAN. Pressure? What pressure? The face of the bubble at No. 125 on the money list, Bateman earns his card for next year (and the year after that) with a shocking win.
Harig: CAMILO VILLEGAS. This tournament has produced first-time winners the last two years (Ryan Palmer, Lucas Glover) and does so again.