Rory McIlroy is the PGA Tour player of the year, and even he was a little surprised.
In a vote of the players, who presumably gave as much weight to the whole season as the four biggest weeks, McIlroy won the Jack Nicklaus Award over Brooks Koepka. It was the third time McIlroy won the award, and the first time without having won a major.
McIlroy won three times, including The Players Championship and the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize. He also had a tour-best 14 top 10s and finished out of the top 20 only four times in the 19 tournaments he played.
Koepka, who won the PGA of America’s player of the year based on points, was seen as the favorite for the tour’s award.
He won three times, same as McIlroy, led the FedEx Cup in the regular season and won the money title by nearly $2 million over McIlroy. What stood out the most in Koepka’s season, however, were the majors. He won the PGA Championship, joining Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners since the PGA switched to stroke play in 1958. Koepka was runner-up at the Masters and the U.S. Open, and he tied for fourth in the British Open, nine shots behind.
Nicklaus (1973), Woods (2005) and Jordan Spieth (2015) are the only other players to have finished in the top four in every major for the year.
Sungjae Im of South Korea was voted PGA Tour rookie of the year.