Justin Thomas amassed 66 points to capture the PGA’s top annual award for the second time in his illustrious career. Rahm was second with 56 points, while Collin Morikawa (54), Webb Simpson (52) and Dustin Johnson (42) rounded out the top 5.
Johnson finished a surprising fifth here after going T2 at the PGA Championship and winning two of the last three events of the season. Part of the problem is that the PGA of America recognizes the strokes taken at the Tour Championship but not the strokes applied before the tournament starts.
Johnson won, but he did not take the fewest strokes at East Lake -- Xander Schauffele did. Webb Simpson won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. Thomas, who also claimed this honor in 2017, received 30 points for winning the CJ Cup, Sentry Tournament of Champions and WGC-FedEx St.
Jude Invitational, plus 20 points for the season money title and 16 more for finishing third in the scoring race. Other multiple-time winners include Brooks Koepka (2), Rory McIlroy (2), Nick Price (2), Billy Casper (2), Julius Boros (2), Ben Hogan (4), Jack Nicklaus (5), Tom Watson (6) and Tiger Woods (11).
The award dates back to 1948 when Hogan won. The points-based scoring system considers tournament wins, official money standings and scoring averages for the pandemic-affected season that concluded Monday at the Tour Championship.
The verdict is still out
Thomas ruffled some feathers earlier this month when discussing the claim to the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award, as voted on by the Tour membership. When a reporter asked who would get his vote for Player of the Year, his answer was simple and deadpan.
“Me”. Decided by a ballot of tour members, the PGA Tour award is perhaps the most cherished by the players as it reflects their standing among their peers. It normally alignts with the PGA Player of the year. Last year was the first time the two were not aligned as Brooks Koepka won PGA Player of the Year and Rory McIlroy took home PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Thomas won both in 2017. It would seem, however, that Dustin Johnson is currently one of the favorites to claim this coveted title. The vote for PGA Tour player of the year was up in the air going into the Tour Championship, with only one major being played and six players with multiple victories.
The winner at East Lake was thought to be the front-runner. Johnson’s victory gave him three titles this season, tied with Justin Thomas.