PGA Tour 2016-17

Gong caps Justin Thomas' stellar season

American Justin Thomas celebrating with the FedExCup trophy after finishing runner-up in the PGA Tour's season finale, the Tour Championship. He won the US$10 million (S$13.6 million) bonus to go with his first Major at the PGA Championship and four
American Justin Thomas celebrating with the FedExCup trophy after finishing runner-up in the PGA Tour's season finale, the Tour Championship. He won the US$10 million (S$13.6 million) bonus to go with his first Major at the PGA Championship and four other Tour victories this season.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

World No. 4 wins the PGA Tour Player of the Year after 5 titles including his maiden Major

MIAMI • Justin Thomas was named the 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year on Wednesday, crowning a superb season which saw five wins including a maiden Major victory.

The 24-year-old American from Louisville, Kentucky, had already brought the curtain down on a fine year by winning the season-ending FedEx Cup crown last month.

"It's a huge honour. Any time you can win an award with Jack Nicklaus' name on the award, it definitely means a lot, and it's something that I'll cherish for a while for sure," said Thomas, who beat compatriots Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth as well as Japan's Hideki Matsuyama in a vote that was cast by their peers.

"It's kind of crazy, especially for someone with the expectations I've always had for myself. It never really entered my mind winning it."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said winning the Jack Nicklaus Trophy reflected Thomas' consistent performances across the year.

He said in a statement: "With five remarkable wins and his season-long consistency that resulted in the FedExCup title, Justin is a deserving winner of PGA Tour Player of the Year.

"We also salute his excellence off the course, as he is one of the many young stars that have been tremendous ambassadors for the PGA Tour this year."

TOP ACCOLADE

It's a huge honour. Any time you can win an award with Jack Nicklaus' name on the award, it definitely means a lot, and it's something that I'll cherish for a while.

JUSTIN THOMAS, world No. 4, reflecting on his breakthrough season culminating in his peers voting him as their pick for best golfer.

Thomas clinched his first career Major in August at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. He also notched wins at the CIMB Classic, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Sony Open in Hawaii and Dell Technologies Championship.

Only three other players - Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Spieth - since 1960 have won five tournaments including a Major in a single season before turning 25.

His Sony Open win in Hawaii also saw him become the youngest player in history to break 60, with a first-round 59 on the way to a wire-to-wire victory.

With a nine-under 63 in the US Open at Erin Hills, he set the championship record for scoring in relation to par. He finished the season ranked fourth behind Johnson, Spieth and Matsuyama, respectively.

Thomas nominated his tee shot at the par-three 17th at Quail Hollow in the final round of the PGA Championship as the most special in a remarkable season.

"That shot was probably the best shot I've ever hit in my life under those circumstances," he said of the seven-iron from 200 yards that cleared the water hazard, found the heart of the green, and set up a 15-foot birdie that all but clinched the championship.

Thomas also played a role in helping the United States win last week's Presidents Cup by posting a 3-1-1 record against the International team.

The Player of the Year award is voted on by PGA Tour professionals who have played in at least 15 official money events this season. The ballots closed on Oct 2.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'Gong caps Thomas' stellar season'. Print Edition | Subscribe