After taking home the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup over the weekend, Jordan Spieth is a virtual lock to receive the PGA Tour's Player of the Year honors.
On Monday, the PGA Tour announced Spieth would be competing with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler for its year-end award, which goes to the player who performed best in the 2014-15 season, per Brendan Porath of SB Nation. While there was some debate between Spieth and Day heading into the Tour Championship, the 22-year-old Texan's four-stroke victory at East Lake all but clinched his triumph.
Spieth won five events in the 2015 PGA season, including the year's first two majors. He captured the Masters in record-setting fashion in April before sliding by for a one-stroke win at the U.S. Open. A fourth-place finish at the Open Championship ended the dream of a Grand Slam, and he finished the year with a second-place run at the PGA Championship.
Things ground to a halt at the beginning of the FedEx Cup, though, as Spieth missed the first two cuts before turning in a solid-but-unspectacular tie for 13th at the BMW Championship. That downturn opened the door for Day, who took the PGA Championship and had won four of his last six tournaments heading into the weekend.
"I got frustrated," Spieth said, per Steve DiMeglio of USA Today. "I lost the No. 1 ranking, I watched Jason Day dominate golf and I got frustrated. And I put my head down and got to work."
Following his victory at the Tour Championship, the PGA of America named Spieth its Player of the Year on Monday. The 22-year-old also received the PGA of America's Vardon Trophy, which is awarded to the touring professional with the lowest adjusted scoring average. Since 1992, every player to win the PGA of America's Player of the Year award also followed it up with the PGA Tour's Player of the Year distinction.
In the opinion of Grantland's Brian Curtis, Spieth should be in the conversation for even more awards:
Day, 27, had long been considered among the PGA's best never to win a major. His late-season breakout helped him shed that label and turn the world rankings into a three-headed battle between himself, Spieth and McIlroy. His win at the BMW gave him his first career No. 1 ranking, though he'll cede that to Spieth now.
"I was the best player in the world, I felt like for the most part of this summer," Day said, per DiMeglio. "And all that good play finally caught up to where it should be and after winning last week was great to finally get my name up top. But it's not a letdown at all (to lose the No. 1 ranking). It's more of a motivation to really understand what I need to do to get to that No. 1 spot, how hard I need to work for next year to keep that."
McIlroy and Fowler both had fine seasons but have no shot of upsetting the Spieth/Day combo. McIlroy has not won on tour since May's Wells Fargo Championship and missed a month due to a soccer-related injury. Fowler had wins at the Players Championship and the Deutsche Bank Championship, good for the best season of his career but nowhere near the heights of Spieth or Day.
In the battle between the world's best two golfers, Spieth won the final chapter and should walk away with the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award with ease.
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