Rory McIlroy has been voted PGA Tour player of the year over Brooks Koepka after posting the most top-10 finishes and winning the FedEx Cup.
The 30-year-old Northern Irishman beat Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar and Xander Schauffele in a vote by players for the Jack Nicklaus Award. Koepka looked like the surefire victor until the season-ending Tour Championship where McIlroy won the tournament, the FedEx Cup, and $15 milllion.
The 2019-20 PGA Tour season begins this week with A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, which moved this year from its normal date in mid-summer to the fall where it opens up a stretch of 11 official PGA Tour events before the end of the calendar year. "I think [the player vote] speaks volumes about what PGA Tour players feel [is] important".
He won three tournaments overall and finished first in the world golf rankings and on the money list. He finished tied for second at the Masters in April, won the PGA Championship for the second straight year at Bethpage Black in May, finished solo second at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June and tied for fourth at the Open Championship in July.
Maybe Monahan, seated next to him, was dangling McIlroy's $15 million FedEx Cup check. The caveat here for McIlroy, of course, is that it can be the unofficial whatever, but it's technically not a major. If you can get big audiences of casual sports fan and some non-sports fans glued to your coverage four weeks a year, you're doing great. "We play for more than just what the narrative suggests". Aside from the obvious question of whether McIlroy should or shouldn't have won the award, it's interesting to analyze what this tells us about the players on tour.
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There's the KLM Open teeing off at The International in the capital of Holland on Thursday, and the Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs for the resumption of the PGA Tour.
McIlroy's peers may simply have felt consistency trumped major play - even historically astounding numbers in majors by Koepka - and that's fine.
How did Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka compare over the 2018-19 season? Many of them are average pros who will never win a major, but have a clear understanding of how hard it is to finish inside the top-10 almost every week.
Also new, the tour this season has reduced the number of players who will make the cut from the top 70 players and those tied to the top 65 and ties. He had 16 top-25s and seven top-10s in 35 events. Only Woods (12 in 2000) had more in majors in a single season.
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