Stricker gets cortisone shot, but missing power

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PAYNE STEWART AWARD: David Toms was presented the Payne Stewart Award on Tuesday, in honor of the three-time major champion who died in a plane crash on his way to the Tour Championship in 1999.

The award is for a player who shares Stewart’s respect for golf tradition, commitment to charity and presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.

Toms, whose 13 wins include the PGA Championship in 2001, has a foundation that works with at-risk children, and he is building a golf academy for less privileged kids.

He also has raised more than $2 million through a charity golf tournament that raises money for children who have been abused or neglected.

“Something like this is different,” Toms said. “It’s different than winning a tournament. It goes beyond that. And to be a part of this award is truly special.”

Toms said his only regret was not getting to play on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team with Stewart, although he saw how much Stewart enjoyed life during the King Hassan tournament in Morocco. Toms said Stewart was in the locker room, wearing a strange hat and dancing to music in the presence of royalty.

“He went on to win the tournament that week, and it made an impression on me what he was all about,” Toms said. “I wish I would have got to play with him a lot longer. But just to be associated with the award with his name is a great honor.”

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PLAYER OF THE YEAR: It’s difficult enough to find a favorite for PGA Tour player of the year going into the Tour Championship. Keegan Bradley has two wins, including the PGA Championship. Luke Donald is No. 1 in the world. Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Mark Wilson all are going for a third win at East Lake.

“I think a win this week would sway a lot of people’s minds,” Donald said.

Tougher still might be finding the player of the year on the European Tour, although its season still has nearly three months left.

Thomas Bjorn has won three times. Rory McIlroy had a record-setting win at the U.S. Open, while Darren Clarke had a sentimental win at the British Open, his second win of the year. There’s also Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Donald, who has three European Tour wins and is atop the world ranking.

“It’s finding that balance between how important is winning that major compared to the consistency of a year,” Donald said. “What does player of the year stand for? Does it stand for having that one great week in a major, which is extremely important? Of is it weighed by being very consistent week in and week out?

“I don’t know what everyone’s thinking,” he said. “It could a number of different ways.”

Perhaps the real measure is who gets put on the cover of the European Tour media guide for 2012.

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