Justin Thomas named PGA Tour Player of the Year

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Justin Thomas named PGA Tour Player of the Year

PGA Tour

Justin Thomas named PGA Tour Player of the Year

Justin Thomas is going to need a bigger trophy case.

His peers on the PGA Tour have voted him 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year after a campaign in which the 24-year-old Thomas won five tournaments, claimed his first major, captured the season-long FedEx Cup race and represented the U.S. for the first time as a pro on one of its national teams, competing in the Presidents Cup. The results of the voting, which closed Monday, were announced on Wednesday.

The highlights for Thomas this season were many, but none shined brighter than his victory at Quail Hollow in the 99th PGA Championship. Getting the Wanamaker Trophy in his hands was significant for Thomas for so many reasons, but mainly this: His father and grandfather are PGA professionals. Mike Thomas, Justin’s father, is the longtime pro at Harmony Landing in Goshen, Ky., and has been Justin’s only teacher.

Along the way, Thomas defended his title at the CIMB in Malaysia last autumn, won back-to-back in Hawaii (SBS and Sony, shooting 59 at the latter) in January, established a U.S. Open record in relation to par in shooting 9-under 63 at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills in June, and then won his PGA in August. Thomas then put a topper on his year by winning the second FedEx Cup Playoffs event (Dell Technologies at TPC Boston) and securing the FedEx Cup with a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship at East Lake.

Thomas was selected as POY over candidates Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and Jordan Spieth, all of whom won three or more events in 2016-17. Thomas will receive the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as player of the year, and he also captured the Arnold Palmer Trophy as the Tour’s leading money winner this season ($9,921,560, and that’s before his $10 million haul for winning the FedEx title).

Asked about collecting just short of $20 million in this, his breakout season, here’s what Thomas had to say at the Tour Championship:

“It’s like I’m going to be fine financially for my life,” he said. “I plan on winning a lot of golf tournaments in my career, and if you play out here for the money, I don’t think you play for the right reasons . . . I’ve never wanted to do anything in my career for that reason.

“It’s a tremendous bonus and it’s just a nice, trying to think of the right word – I guess a nice cushion, you could say. It’s fun to have because, yeah, obviously who doesn’t like it, but I work hard and I put all this preparation in and I’m competitive because I like winning and I like trophies and I like being in the history books and I like having my name on trophies that not many people’s are on. It’s not the money. The money is just a nice bonus that comes with it.”

Thomas and Spieth, who was POY in 2015, led the Tour in top-10 finishes this season, with 12 apiece. Last week, in his Presidents Cup debut, Thomas finished 3-1-1 for the U.S. team in a winning effort at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J.

All in all, a pretty nice year.

“With five remarkable wins and his season-long consistency that resulted in the FedEx Cup title, Justin is a deserving winner of PGA Tour Player of the Year,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement released by the Tour. “We also salute his excellence off the course, as he is one of the many young stars that have been tremendous ambassadors for the PGA Tour this year.

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