Tue, Oct 15, 2019

As it turns out, major championships aren’t the only thing that matters. Rory McIlroy took home his third PGA Tour Player of the Year award on Wednesday on the eve of a new PGA Tour season. McIlroy beat out Brooks Koepka — the PGA Championship winner — in the player vote despite not winning a major championship on the season.

It was still a banner year for McIlroy who won three high-profile events in the Players Championship, Canadian Open and Tour Championship (as well as the year-long FedEx Cup and $15 million). He also posted the best non-Tiger Woods strokes gained number (2.55 per round) since the stat started back in 2004.

“On behalf of the PGA Tour, my congratulations to Rory McIlroy on being voted the 2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year by the Tour’s membership,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan in a statement. “While there are a number of honors one can receive in this game, PGA Tour Player of the Year has to be among the most satisfying as it comes directly from his peers. Rory’s season was a model of consistency punctuated by milestone victories and ultimately the FedExCup in Atlanta.”

There was much debate following the Tour Championship about whether the award should go to Koepka or McIlroy. Koepka added the CJ Cup and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Classic to his collection of wins, but he finished ninth in strokes gained and had nine top 10s compared to Rory’s 14. It essentially comes down to how much you value major championships. 

Here’s how the two finished this season.

Tournament Rory McIlroy Brooks Koepka

Masters

T21

T2

PGA Championship

T8

1st

U.S. Open

T9

2nd

Open Championship

MC

T4

If you value majors exclusively, Koepka is the obvious winner. If not, then it’s probably McIlroy. The Ulsterman’s colleagues clearly took into account more than just their play at the four majors in 2019, which is how McIlroy ended with his third trophy. He joins Tiger Woods (11!) as the only golfers with more than two PGA Tour POY awards in their careers.

Earlier this month, Koepka captured the PGA Player of the Year award, which means that for the first time since 1991, the two resulted in different winners. That year, Corey Pavin won PGA Player of the Year while Fred Couples won PGA Tour Player of the Year. 

McIlroy previously captured this award in 2012 and 2014.

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