Who Will Be Player Of The Year? McIlroy Says It’s A ‘Two-Horse Race’

The World No.2 has had another excellent year on the PGA Tour, but he doesn’t think he’s in the running for the award

Rory McIlroy at his press conference before the Tour Championship at East Lake
Rory McIlroy thinks two players are in the running for the Player of the Year award
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is in with an excellent chance of claiming a record fourth FedEx Cup title in the Tour Championship as the PGA Tour season draws to a close.

However, even though the 34-year-old has been remarkably consistent in recent months, with a string of top-10 finishes taking him into the season finale at East Lake, as far as he’s concerned only two players are in the running for the PGA Tour Player of the Year award, and he’s not one of them.

McIlroy spoke to the media before the tournament gets underway, and said he thinks it’s between 2022 winner Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm for the Player of the Year award, with the Spaniard just in front with one event to play.

He said: “I think Scottie's won twice this year, Jon's won four times, Jon's won the Masters, Scottie's won The Players. If you go on total wins - it's hard because how can you not - it's going to be really difficult because Scottie's had - he could end up with the best ball-striking season of all time. 

"He's hit the ball as good, if not better, than Tiger hit it in 2000. Which is the benchmark for all of us. But I think Jon probably has a little more to show for his year.”

Scheffler had claimed the WM Phoenix Open title and Players Championship by the end of March, and also embarked on a hugely consistent run of results that at one point saw him finish in the top 12 in 19 consecutive tournaments. As a result, he heads into the Tour Championship leading the FedEx Cup standings and at the top of the world rankings.

Rahm, on the other hand, has four wins this year, including his second Major title after victory in The Masters, and has also had two spells as World No.1.

Despite thinking Rahm may just have his nose in front at the moment, though, McIlroy says that could all change by Sunday evening - although he's convinced it won't be him collecting a fourth Jack Nicklaus Award. 

He said: “I think it could come down to this week and who performs. But it's a two-horse race between Jon and Scottie.”

Despite that, McIlroy is confident he can claim the FedEx title, and admitted he's likely to go back to his old putter, his TaylorMade Spider, to help him. He said: "I've had some of my best putting weeks of my career at this golf course on these greens with that putter, so hopefully I can rekindle that again this week."

McIlroy tees off three behind leader Scheffler on Thursday, who begins at 10-under par. Rahm begins in the same group as McIlroy, four behind the leader.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.