Spieth’s award comes as no surprise after a historic campaign that included five wins, two majors and the season-long FedEx Cup title. He became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win both the Masters and the U.S. Open, and he joined Woods (2005) and Jack Nicklaus (1973) as the only players to log top-four finishes in all four majors.
At age 22, Spieth becomes the youngest recipient since Woods won it in 1997 at age 21.
Jason Day made a late-season charge for POY honors, winning four times in a six-start stretch to briefly move to No. 1 in the world, but Spieth’s four-shot win at the Tour Championship put the trophy on ice.
Berger finished 11th in the final FedEx Cup standings and was the only rookie to make it to the Tour Championship. His award extends a notable streak, as each of the seven rookies to make it to the season finale since 2007 have later been named Rookie of the Year.
Berger turned pro after two years at Florida State, and following a successful Web.com Tour campaign in 2014 he burst onto the scene with a surprising playoff loss to Padraig Harrington at the Honda Classic in March.
Berger had six top-10 finishes and 13 top-25s this season, but he had missed seven straight cuts before turning it around in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The 22-year-old finished T-12 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, then second at the BMW Championship to cement his spot at East Lake.
Among the nominees edged out by Berger were Nick Taylor, the only rookie to win this season, and Justin Thomas, who had seven top-10 finishes and contended regularly throughout the year. But Thomas finished 32nd in the postseason points race, barely missing out on a spot in the Tour Championship.