Rory McIlroy Wins PGA Tour Player of the Year Award
The PGA Tour Player of the Year award was established in 1990 and has been won by some of the biggest names in world of golf. The trophy is known as the Jack Nicklaus Trophy and was first won by Wayne Levi.
Since then, Fred Couples, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have all won the award. The last player to win the PGA Tour Player of the Year award was Brooks Koepka having picked up the trophy in 2018. The American was one of the favourites to win it again in 2019 to become just the third player to win it back-to-back.
Having already claimed the PGA of America's Player of the Year award, Koepka was expected to add to that honour with the Jack Nicklaus Trophy. You must go back 28 years to find the last time the same name was not on both awards. Everyone in the golfing world was expecting to see Koepka pick up the PGA Tour Player of the Year award.
However, in what was a shock announcement to many, the award went to Rory McIlroy for the third time in his career.
No one is doubting the achievements of McIlroy this season. The Northern Irishman has won the The Players Championship and the Canadian Open plus added the Tour Championship to his resumé for a second time last month to secure the FedEx Cup title. This is a list of achievements which any professional golfer would be delighted with over the course of a season.
The majors were a slightly different story for McIlroy this season and his best performances came in the PGA Championship and US Open where he finished 8th and 9th respectively. The Masters, which is the one which continues to get away from McIlroy, was not as strong as he finished T21 plus missed the cut at the Open Championship.
Koepka on the other hand won the PGA Championship for the second successive year, meaning he has won a major in each of the last three years. The American also finished 2nd at the US Open, T2 at The Masters and T4 at the Open Championship. That’s a very consistent performance in the most prestigious tournaments of the year.
There is unlikely to be any major tournament in 2020 which Koepka does not enter as favourite with the bookmakers yet McIlroy won the players vote.
The overall vote count will not be revealed but some have argued this result lends weight to the importance of PGA Tour events over major championships, which do not come under PGA jurisdiction.
McIlroy himself said he voted for Koepka to win and it would be interesting to find out who Koepka voted to win. This may be seen as a bit of a kick in the teeth for Koepka from his fellow professional players and it will be interesting to see how things pan out ahead of next year.