Rahm and Scheffler, the two favorites for best player of the year on the PGA Tour
The 2023 course has already concluded on the PGA Tour after the end of the Tour Championship that crowned Viktor Hovland as champion of the American circuit. However, the Norwegian’s success does not seem enough for his name to enter the pools for victory as the best player of the season, although he could be part of the three nominees that will be announced in a few days.
The man from Oslo accumulated three wins and was third in The Players and second in the PGA, but the truth is that the race is mainly focused on two players: Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler.
Despite his great year, neither Rory McIlroy (three victories) is part of the equation, nor is Brian Harman (British Open winner). Wyndham Clark (winner of the US Open and Wells Fargo) does not seem to be valued as an option for the prestigious award, despite his growth this year and his good final performance in the Tour Championship. The Jack Nicklaus trophy essentially seems like a two-contender thing. We have Jon Rahm, winner of four tournaments, one of them the Augusta Masters, and nine ‘top 10’ in 19 events. He finished second – shared – at the British Open and nearly equaled the record for the lowest round in the tournament after the third round. In any case, when it comes to voting, victories are what usually weighs the most and that is why a priori they start off with a bit of an advantage. The ‘León de Barrika’, in addition, is the one who has the best birdie average this year: 4.52 per lap.
On the other hand, is Scottie Scheffler, winner of the WM Phoenix Open and The Players. In total, he finished 17 times in the top 10 in 23 tournaments played; of those 17, 12 were ‘top 5’. He was also in the fight for the PGA and the US Open, hence the strength of his candidacy. On a statistical level, the number one in the world stands out, starting with the average number of strokes: he has closed the course with an average of 68.63 strokes per round, the seventh-best record since the statistics on the circuit are taken into account (Tiger holds the other six best results). It can also be appreciated that he only bogeyed -or worse-in 10.73% of the holes he played this season on the circuit.
McIlroy has already spoken about this debate: “Scottie won twice this year and Jon four. Jon won the Masters, Scottie did it in The Players. I think Jon has probably shown something else this year.”