PGA Tour names Player of the Year, but not without whiff of controversy

Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler shake hands at the Ryder Cup.

Scottie Scheffler beat out Jon Rahm for PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Jon Rahm won four times. Scottie Scheffler won just twice.

Jon Rahm won the Masters. Scottie Scheffler won the Players.

Jon Rahm played on the winning European Ryder Cup team. Scottie Scheffler, well, you know…did not.

But the PGA Tour announced Tuesday that Scheffler, not Rahm, had been named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year by his peers.

The award is determined by a PGA Tour member vote from players who played at least 15 events last season. Scheffler earned 38 percent of the vote, beating out Rahm, Rory McIlroy and FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland; vote totals for the other finalists and turnout data were not provided by the PGA Tour.

And, yes, there’s also a certain elephant in the room: Rahm signed with LIV Golf last month and is currently suspended from the PGA Tour. He is unable to defend his title this week at the Sentry, where Scheffler accepted the award. According to the AP, the player polling was conducted from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15; Rahm announced he was leaving for LIV on Dec. 7.

Still, Scheffler is hardly undeserving of the honor, having ended the season ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the same place he began it after winning the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2022. He is the first player to win the award in successive years since Tiger Woods did so from 2005-07.

Aside from winning the aforementioned Players and WM Phoneix Open, Scheffler put together one of the most statistically impressive PGA Tour seasons of all time. He won the Byron Nelson award for posting the lowest scoring average for the year, a number (68.63) which is the seventh-lowest of all time and best among anyone besides Woods. He led the Tour in eight other statistical categories.

He also finished inside the top 12 for 18 consecutive events and collected more than $21 million in official earnings, smashing his previous record from 2022 by nearly $7 million.

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Meanwhile, Rahm started the season on a tear, winning his first two starts at the Sentry and Amex before rising to No. 1 in the world with a win at the Genesis Invitational. He then claimed his second major title by winning the Masters by three strokes.

But his play cooled off significantly as he recorded just two top-10s after April.

Cole snatches Rookie of the Year honors from Aberg

Eric Cole was named the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year. The other finalists were Ludvig Aberg, Nico Echavarria and Vincent Norrman, all of whom claimed victories on the PGA Tour in 2023.

Cole, 35, is the second-oldest winner of the award and oldest since 39-year-old Todd Hamilton won it in 2004; he is currently older than 10 of the previous 11 Rookie of the Year winners, per PGA Tour communications manager Jack Ryan.

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Cole’s season was one of consistency with him finishing No. 43 in the FedEx Cup; he also was the only rookie to advance to the BMW Championship and guarantee starts in all eight Signature Events in 2024.

He led the PGA Tour in rounds, birdies and recorded the fifth-most top-fives with six.

Still, many thought Cole, despite earning three of those top-fives over the last three events of the FedEx Cup Fall, had ceded the award to the Swedish sensation Aberg, when the latter won the season-ending RSM Classic in November.

Aberg joined the PGA Tour only in June — the first to do so by finishing No. 1 in the PGA Tour University rankings — but made an immediate splash with eight top-25s in just 11 starts as a pro in 2023. After a debut win on the DP World Tour on the eve of the European Ryder Cup captain’s pick announcements, Aberg made Luke Donald’s team and earned two points at Marco Simone in the home win for Europe.

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He then backed up the performance abroad with a playoff loss at the Sanderson Farms Championship before dominating at Sea Island to win the RSM by four shots on the strength of back-to-back weekend 61s.

While Aberg went from college immediately to the PGA Tour, Cole had a different journey. It took him seven years after turning pro in 2009 to finally earn status on the Korn Ferry Tour. Even still, he bounced on and off the Korn Ferry, racking up quite the resume on mini-tours, while also giving lessons.

Cole earned his PGA Tour card finally in 2022 and never looked back, competing in a whopping 37 events.

He follows in the footsteps of his mother, Laura Baugh, who was the LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1973.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at