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Rory McIlroy was stunned by his PGA Player of the Year win

13 September 2019

That's what the players on the PGA Tour said by voting Rory McIlroy the victor of the Jack Nicklaus award as 2018-19 Player of the Year. It is the third time McIlroy has won the Jack Nicklaus Award.

McIlroy and Koepka were the only PGA Tour players to win three events this past season.

A victor in 2016, McIlroy became the second player to win multiple FedExCups, following Tiger Woods, and the first player to win it along with The Players Championship in the same season.

What you get will be the unfortunate response to what is otherwise a very minor controversy: Rory McIlroy was voted PGA Tour Player of the Year by his peers.

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Any golfer who competed in at least 15 FedExCup events was eligible to vote for the award.

McIlroy also won the Byron Nelson Award for adjusted scoring average (69.057) for the third time in his career and led the PGA Tour in top-10s (14) and total strokes gained (2.551 average). Koepka was runner-up at the Masters and the U.S. Open, and he tied for fourth in the British Open, nine shots behind. Including his FedEx Cup and Wyndham Reward bonuses, McIlroy won $24.3 million last season, the most in Tour history. The caveat here for McIlroy, of course, is that it can be the unofficial whatever, but it's technically not a major. Why do we play 25 times a year when only four weeks are really important?

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts on the 10th green during the first round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on 18 July 2019.

"I think it's a huge vote of confidence from the players that we play for more than just what maybe the narrative suggests".

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This week sees 2018 US Amateur champion Viktor Hovland of Norway make his debut as a tour member after posting some impressive rounds after turning pro in June. Even then, most analysts assumed Koepka's major championship season would put him over the top.

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. But on one hand you have one of the most well-liked players of his generation, and on the other you have a player who made a point to tell the world he only bothers to practice before majors. What stood out the most in Koepka's season, however, were the majors.

Was there any kind of internal campaign to validate McIlroy's season as a Players and FedEx Cup victor, both events owned by the players and compensating them in very lucrative fashion?

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Rory McIlroy was stunned by his PGA Player of the Year win