McIlroy hopes for a late start to his season

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There is still plenty up for grabs _ for Woods, Mickelson, Adam Scott and so many others.

Even though Woods has five wins this year _ no one else has more than two _ Mickelson could make a case for PGA Tour player of the year if he were to win a playoff event (or two), particularly the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize to go along with his claret jug from the British Open. Despite two decades of greatness and a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Mickelson has never won player of the year, a money title or the Vardon Trophy.

Would that be enough? Bill Haas didn’t hesitate when asked who had the best year _ Woods.

Neither did Scott, despite his green jacket for winning the Masters.

“It’s hard to pass up looking at five wins,” Scott said. “I think the next best guy might have two, is that right? That’s a great year to win that many times. It’s all personal opinion. If you think winning a major is what you base success on, then if you haven’t (won), you haven’t had a great year. But winning … I’ve always based it around winning events, and I don’t think one major makes up for five tournaments.”

That led to another question: Would Scott trade seasons with Woods?

“I’d rather have mine, that’s for sure,” said Scott, who collected his first major at Augusta National. “He may want mine. I mean, No. 15 is proving to be difficult for him, so that would have given him that. But they’ve all got to get tougher the more you get.”

Woods only played nine holes of his pro-am Wednesday at Liberty National, the course along the Hudson River across from the Statue of Liberty. He experienced stiffness in his neck and back from what he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel, and Woods decided only to chip and putt on the back nine as a precaution.

It was the latest nagging injury this year _ a tweaked back during the final round of the PGA Championship, an elbow injury in the summer that caused him to miss two tournaments _ though Woods was not concerned and said he was fine during his week off at home in Florida.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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