The PGA Tour Rookie of the Year will now receive the Arnold Palmer Award after a new trophy was unveiled.
From 2019, the outstanding rookie of the season will lift a trophy named in honour and featuring an image of one of the game’s greatest names and players, after the PGA Tour chose to add even more prestige to the award by naming it after Palmer.
Previously, the Arnold Palmer Award was presented to the player topping the season-long money list on the PGA Tour. But it will now be handed to the Rookie of the Year instead.
The new Arnold Palmer Award was unveiled ahead of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, a tournament the late great star of the game hosted and one which still carries his name.
“Arnold Palmer was golf’s greatest ambassador with his go-for-broke style of play, his charitable endeavors and his true passion and respect for the game and its fans,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“A thumbs up, a wink, a carefully signed autograph, a thank you—simple gestures like these passed on by Mr. Palmer to countless young players helped shape their character, on and off the golf course.
“The Arnold Palmer Award will now reflect those contributions in honoring the TOUR’s most outstanding rookie. Our thanks to the Palmer family and the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation for their support with this initiative.”
Palmer won 95 times as a professional, including 62 times on the PGA Tour and seven majors—the Masters four times, two Open Championships and a US Open, with the USPGA Championship the only one missing.
He also won the US Amateur before turning professional and triumphed 10 times on the Seniors PGA Tour and in seven Seniors majors.
Palmer died in 2016 at the age of 87.
The Rookie of the Year award was first introduced by the PGA Tour in 1990 when Robert Gamez was the inaugural winner. It is voted for by members of the tour and the best debutante each year will get the Arnold Palmer Award.
As well as Gamez, other notable names to have been named Rookie of the Year include Vijay Singh (1993), Ernie Els (1994), Tiger Woods (1996), Charles Howell III (2001), Brandt Snedeker (2007), Marc Leishman (2009), Rickie Fowler (2010), Keegan Bradley (2011), Daniel Berger (2015) and last year’s winner Aaron Wise (2018).
The Arnold Palmer Award joins a host of annual awards on the PGA Tour including the Jack Nicklaus Award going to the Player of the Year, voted for by members.
The Byron Nelson Award is award to the player with the lowest adjusted scoring average in a season, and the Payne Stewart honours a professional golfer who best exemplifies him and who has values which “align with the character, charity and sportsmanship that Stewart showed.”
Palmer, Nicklaus and Nelson were all the inaugural recipients of the Payne Stewart Award when it was first introduced by the PGA Tour in 2000.
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