If you were to ask me to vote for Rookie of the Year, my ballot would have gone to Rory McIlroy, who won the Quail Hollow Championship in style and tied a major championship record with a 63 at St. Andrews, where he went on to T3. He also T3 at the PGA Championship. But McIlroy never considered himself a rookie, so he wasn’t bothered that in a vote of the players, Rickie Fowler drew the most votes. Fowler had a splendid year and achieved just about everything except a win (or top-tens at majors).
“It’s fine,” said McIlroy after finishing fourth at the Chevron World Challenge. “Look, I really didn’t want it. I’m not a rookie…When I joined the PGA Tour, I was top 10 in the world. Rickie had an unbelievable year. He deserves it.”
The PGA Tour considered McIlroy a rookie because it was his first full year on tour.
Fowler secured his PGA Tour card by getting through Q-School. He had two runner-up finishes at the Phoenix Open and the Memorial. He was also the first rookie to get picked for the US Ryder Cup team.
But was it possible that McIlroy was snubbed because he announced last month that he wasn’t going to play on the US PGA Tour again next season? Or was it because his peers didn’t consider him a true rookie?
“It might be a little of both,” McIlroy said.
According to the AP report, Dustin Johnson didn’t vote and wasn’t aware that the winner of the award had already been announced.
“He’s going to get votes because he had a decent year,” Johnson said of Fowler. “But McIlroy is going to win. He’s got to win.”
Told the result, Johnson added, “Rickie won? Maybe he’s an American. I don’t know why.”
Meanwhile, McIlroy applauded Fowler for his rookie-year achievements:
“I’m happy for Rickie that he got it. Coming straight out of college, playing the Walker Cup in 09, the Ryder Cup, winning nearly $3 million, getting to 25th in the worth. It’s a great first year. That’s what a rookie should be — the first year. I don’t feel like I should have been eligible.”
Last week on Twitter, McIlroy wrote that Fowler deserved the award.
And Fowler replied, saying he voted for McIlroy.
Who is more deserving in your opinion? Rickie definitely gets American Rookie of the Year. But on a world scale? Just look at Rory’s record.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)