THOUSAND OAKS, Calf. – If Jim Furyk’s name on the 2010 Jack Nicklaus Trophy was a foregone conclusion, as many predicted, news that Rickie Fowler had been named the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year was something of a surprise.
Fowler had a banner year, pacing the rookie class with $2.8 million in earnings; but Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy was the only first-timer to win on Tour, and win big with his victory at the Quail Hollow Championship with what may be the round of the year on Sunday (62). McIlroy also added third-place finishes at the Open Championship and PGA Championship.
The speculation was that some Tour members, who vote on the player and rookie of the year awards, dismissed McIlroy because he recently forfeited his Tour membership for next year. But Furyk didn’t believe that factored into the vote.
“I would never not vote for that reason. I never even thought of that actually,” Furyk said, before adding, “It really doesn’t seem like Rory was a rookie.”
But then Vijay Singh (1993) and Todd Hamilton (2004) were hardly quintessential rookies when they won the award either.
“Players vote for different reasons and both guys had great years,” Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “Personally I like a little controversy. So if you guys want to write that it’s a controversy that’s good because it brings more attention to who won.”