MIAMI • World No. 1 Brooks Koepka was named PGA of America Player of the Year for a second successive year on Monday, despite the American losing out to Rory McIlroy in the Tour Championship just a day earlier.
Koepka, who successfully defended his PGA Championship crown this year, missed out on the opportunity to cap his season with victory at the season-ending event on Sunday after stumbling on his final round.
The 29-year-old from Florida led by one shot heading into the fourth round, but posted a two-over 72 over the final 18 holes as the 30-year-old Northern Irishman McIlroy surged to victory.
Still, Koepka was the ultimate winner in the PGA Player of the Year award.
As reported in the Golf Digest, the PGA "uses a year-long points formula to determine its winner, with tournament victories, official money standings, and scoring averages featured in its equation".
Koepka's wins at the PGA Championship, WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and C.J. Cup bestowed 50 points, 10 more than McIlroy accumulated for his Players Championship, Canadian Open and FedEx Cup triumphs.
That category proved to be the difference, with Koepka finishing with 84 points to McIlroy's 78.
W 50 M 20 S 14 T 84
W 40 M 18 S 20 T 78
Points for: W - tournament wins, M - money standings, S - scoring averages, T - total
The four-time Major winner also topped the season money list, pocketing US$9.68 million (S$13.43 million) in prize money, and was fourth in the Vardon Trophy, won by McIlroy for the best scoring average (69.06) across the year.
Koepka clearly enjoys the tight competition. Speaking at East Lake, Atlanta, on Sunday following the conclusion of the Tour Championship, he said: "Like I've said multiple times, Rory's the most fun to watch when he's playing well.
"He hits it so good, he putts it really well, and when he's on, man, he's tough to beat.
"I enjoy competing against Rory and hopefully it stays that way and everybody stays healthy and competitive."
McIlroy pocketed US$15 million for his Tour Championship win - the season money list concludes prior to the 30-player event - and also earned the Vardon Trophy for a third time. He was second behind Koepka on the money list with US$7.78 million.
Patrick Cantlay and Gary Woodland were a distant third in the award list on 42 points overall.
Like Koepka, 2012 and 2014 Player of the Year winner McIlroy had only praise for his rival.
"Brooks went out there in Memphis (FedEx St. Jude Invitational) last month and shot 65 in the final round and just basically dominated the tournament," he said.
"And I realised if I want to become the dominant player in the world again, I need to be more like that. I've gone into them (final rounds) maybe a little too relaxed.
"I guess the ultimate compliment I can give Brooks is that I wanted to be a little bit more like him."
Koepka, meanwhile, could also win his second straight PGA Tour Player of the Year award.
The winner is decided via player votes and the result is expected within the next three weeks.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS