Dustin Johnson weighs in on Koepka-Rory Player of the Year controversy

September 27, 2019

Dustin Johnson has a famous (and long-standing) friendship with World No. 1 Brooks Koepka. But Johnson threw his support behind the PGA Tour’s controversial decision of Rory McIlroy for Player of the Year.

Johnson appeared on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio Thursday from Oakmont Country Club, where he won the 2016 U.S. Open. During the interview, hosts Taylor Zarzour and Bob Ford brought up the topic of Player of the Year and asked Johnson for his opinion.

“I mean, it’s tough. I think Rory,” Johnson said. “He just — I think he played, he won I think more times … he had a lot of close calls and then obviously he won the FedEx Cup right at the end of the year. I think that’s kind of what pushed him over the edge.”

In reality, McIlroy and Koepka each won three PGA Tour events. The argument around McIlroy involves his consistency throughout the season — the Tour’s lowest scoring average and 14 top-10s in 19 starts — plus winning the Players Championship and the FedEx Cup. The argument for Koepka revolves around the major championships, including his win at the PGA Championship and three other top-4 finishes. Johnson, who won Player of the Year in 2016, could see both sides of the argument.

“You could make a case for both of them, don’t get me wrong, but I think just winning the FedEx Cup right at the end of the year is what pushed Rory over the edge,” Johnson concluded.

Dustin Johnson said he'd give Rory McIlroy the nod for PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Dustin Johnson said he'd give Rory McIlroy the nod for PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Getty Images

Johnson, who is ranked No. 3 in the world behind Koepka and McIlroy, is currently recovering from knee surgery. He explained that the surgery came as a result of normal wear-and-tear on his body, and he plans to return in time for the Hero World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods in early December.

“I’m only missing one tournament that I was scheduled to play, which is China [the WGC-HSBC Champions], and so I’ll be back for Tiger’s and then play Presidents Cup,” he said.

Johnson said he expects to return to hitting golf balls in a few weeks.

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