The PGA Tour announced Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler are the finalists for its Player of the Year award this year.
McIlroy won the Tour Championship to claim his third FedEx Cup. Smith captured the first major victory of his career when he out-dueled McIlroy and Cameron Young in the Open Championship. Scheffler kicked off the major championship season by winning the Masters in April.
There would obviously be a level of irony in Smith claiming Player of the Year for the PGA Tour.
The 29-year-old is among those considered persona non grata after leaving the tour to sign with LIV Golf. He debuted for LIV over the weekend, tying for fourth at The Oaks Golf Course at The International in Massachusetts.
McIlroy, on the other hand, has become the face of the PGA Tour in the wake of so many stars jumping ship. You couldn't have scripted the outcome of the Tour Championship any better given what it represented for many fans.
While McIlroy and Smith are the two biggest names on the list, Scheffler might have assembled the strongest resume of the three. The 26-year-old had four wins, four runner-up finishes and 11 Top 10s in 25 events.
Should McIlroy get the Player of the Year nod, it will further affirm how he has become the guy on the PGA Tour. That result will somewhat undercut the significance of the award, though, since he might have the weakest resume of the three finalists.
In general, PGA Tour Player of the Year is a high honor but not exactly one that defines a player's legacy. This year's balloting is at least bound to generate more intrigue thanks to Smith's defection.