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McCann & King—Photo Finish

By Chris Fry, PGA of Canada

Not since the epic battle between Otis Davis and Carl Kaufmann at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games has a sprint come down to the wire like this year’s PGA of Canada Player of the Year Award race.

With just the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada remaining on this year’s schedule, Brian McCann leads Danny King by 44 points.

While 44 points seems like a comfortable lead with just one tournament remaining, there is still the possibility that King could usurp McCann and become the 2011 PGA of Canada Player of the Year.

The PGA of Canada Player of the Year Award is based on points earned throughout the calendar year. Players gain these points based on performance at national and zone tournaments.

Here’s how the points have been accumulated by the two so far in 2011: On the strength of his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship of Canada sponsored by Mr. Lube and presented TaylorMade-adidas, a sixth at the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Assistants’ Championship of Canada presented by Simmlands Insurance Services and his win at the Titleist & FootJoy Ontario PGA Championship, has earned 99 points to date this year. King has earned 55 points thus far thanks to his third place finish at the PGA Championship of Canada and fourth place at the Ontario PGA.

But here’s where things get intriguing—King is set to peg it up next week in Florida, while McCann will be at home. Making things even more interesting, and here is the really important part, the winner of the Club Professional Championship will earn 45 points.
Yes, that’s right; your math is correct. If King wins the 2011 Titleist & FootJoy PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada, he’ll edge McCann by a point –100 to 99—in a photo finish for Player of the Year honours.
Talking with McCann recently, the aforementioned scenario was presented to him.

“Are you serious? Wow,” he says laughing.

In all seriousness, however, McCann says it would be quite the honour to win the Player of the Year Award.

“It would mean a lot, you know. It would validate how well I played for the year,” says the Braeben Academy teaching professional “It be nice to be recognized for something you’ve done well and I’ve got a lot of friends in this industry so having my peers see that and respond to that would be very cool.”

So, suffice it to say, McCann will be keeping close tabs on the action in Port St. Lucie.

“I always take a look at the leaderboards because I know a lot of the guys and it’s just interesting for me to see how everyone is doing,” McCann admits. “I’m not rooting against anyone, but I guess I will have a rooting interest.”

Like McCann, King was surprised just how close the race between the two exactly was.

“Wow, isn’t that something,” he says. “Well, I guess I’m going to have to win.”

As blunt as King is about it, the chances of the Magna Golf Club’s Performance Academy’s head professional actually winning are pretty good. He’s taken home the title twice (2005 and 2006), with both wins coming on the Ryder Course, and hasn’t finished outside of the top 5 in the previous two years.

“I’m excited about it,” King says about the possibilities of a third Canadian Club Professional Championship title and earning Player of the Year honours. “The par 5’s are reachable and that plays into my game plan with my length off the tee.”

When the PGA of Canada Player Rankings presented by RBC were first launched earlier this year, there was hope a race for the Player of the Year would break out.

“I’d by lying if I said we didn’t want to see the Player of the Year be determined at the final event of the season,” says PGA of Canada Coordinator of Tournaments and Events, Adam LeBrun. “Did I think it could come down to a single point separating two guys—no; but it sure has stirred even more interest in the rankings.”

The PGA of Canada launched its player rankings in March and has received praise from the Canadian golf media, the National Board of Directors and its members alike.

“It’s really cool with what the PGA has done with in terms of points,” McCann says. Everyone knows where they’re at, they know they can receive points and they try and get their games ready for those tournaments—and that’s a pretty cool thing.”

King says the rankings have generated interest among the members at Magna as well.

“Members are definitely more aware and are paying a lot of attention as to what guys are doing at their golf courses,” King says. “It’s an added bonus for the guys who are good tournament players because it’s another accolade they can add to their resume. It shows they put hard work into their job, but also their games.”

The Titleist & FootJoy PGA Club Professional Championship takes place Nov. 20-24 the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Follow along at pgaofcanada.com andtwitter.com/pgaofcanada

***

Player of the Year Rankings heading into the Titleist &FootJoy Club Professional Championship of Canada

Name                              Points in 2011
Brian McCann                  99
Vincent Dumouchel         68
*Danny King                    55
Mike Belbin                      55
*Brett Burgeson              45
*Playing in the Titleist & FootJoy Club Professional Championship of Canada
 
 

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