3 Key Points
- Jon Rahm wins GWAA Male Golfer of the Year.
- Lilia Vu and Steve Stricker secure GWAA female and senior awards.
- The Sentry marks the start of the PGA Tour season in Hawaii.
Jon Rahm Captures Golfer of the Year Accolade
The Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) recently announced its recipients for its prestigious season-ending awards, with Jon Rahm taking home the 2023 Male Golfer of the Year honor. Masters winner and recent LIV Golf League convert Rahm garnered 49% of the votes, thanks to victories including a stellar performance at Augusta National. Rahm played a crucial role in Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph in Rome, boasting a 3-0-2 record.
Viktor Hovland, who clinched the FedEx Cup, received 33% of the votes, while The Players champion, Scottie Scheffler, earned 18%. Meanwhile, Lilia Vu stands out as Female Player of the Year with 72%, and Steve Stricker is named Senior Player of the Year with an impressive 80% backing. The PGA Tour will unveil its award winners on Wednesday evening.
Patrick Cantlay’s Partnership with First Responders Children’s Foundation
Patrick Cantlay, who sparked speculation due to his absence of a headwear sponsorship at the last Ryder Cup, is now partnered with the First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF). The partnership aims to support and bring awareness to the organization, active since the devastating events of September 11, with over $3.8 million in scholarships awarded since inception. Cantlay’s efforts include a fundraising campaign for those affected by the catastrophic wildfires in Hawaii.
“Supporting first responders and their families…is very important to me,” shared Cantlay. This new alliance also introduces the Patrick Cantlay Scholarship, intended to assist children of first responders aspiring to be entrepreneurs. Cantlay’s recent statement clarifies the Ryder Cup hat mystery, as he dismissed any protest rumors, citing a fit issue with the headgear.
Scottie Scheffler Starts as World No. 1
Entering the 2024 season, Scottie Scheffler retains his rank as the world’s No. 1 golfer. Emulating a performance last seen by Tiger Woods in 2009, he aims to conclude the season holding this position. Currently, his World Golf Ranking (WGR) index sits at 10.03, with closest competitors Rory McIlroy and Rahm trailing at 8.63 and 7.6927 respectively. Jon Rahm faces an impending decline in points due to his suspension and LIV Golf’s exclusion from WGR points.
Upcoming Professional Tour Start Dates
The Korn Ferry Tour is set to tee off next with the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic on January 14-17. The LPGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions are slated to commence concurrently later that month, with prominent tournaments held in Orlando and Hawaii, respectively. Golf enthusiasts also watch closely as the controversial LIV Golf League kicks off its season on February 2-4 in Mexico.
PGA Tour’s Anticipated Season Opener at The Sentry
Attention pivots to Hawaii as the PGA Tour commences its season with The Sentry, featuring a robust $20 million purse. Defending champion Jon Rahm and notable players such as Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay headline the event starting Thursday. With anticipation high, the Tour’s restructured approach introduces a series of “Signature Events” promising heightened competition and rewards.
Road to The Players
The countdown to the 50th Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach begins, with a $25 million purse at stake. Celebrating its golden anniversary, the prestigious event stands just 11 tour stops away with numerous prominent past winners looking to capture the coveted title once more.