As you may have heard by now the PGA Tour players have voted Rickie Fowler the Rookie of the Year for 2010. I was shocked to see that Rory McIlroy had not received the award, but after a little extra digging I can see how a strong case can be made for Rickie! I would have a hard time placing a bet against either of these two fine young players but who had the better year?
Rickie Fowler had no wins on the PGA Tour this year, but he did have 7 top 10's. Rory McIlroy had one win (Quail Hollow) on the PGA Tour and 5 top 10's - two of which were third place finishes in major championships.
Fowler finished 32nd on the money listwhile McIlroy was 36th; they both played on their respective Ryder Cup teams - McIlroy on the winning side; Rickie had a 70.35 stroke average, while Rory's was 70.94; Rickie played 28 events while Rory only played 16.
In fact in their eleven head to head meetings (in official PGA Tour events) Rory bested Rickie on seven occasions!
A close call....?
On the surface I can commiserate with Lee Westwood in his rant on Twitter against the selection:
Sorry 140 letters is not going to be enough for this rant! Just seen Rickie Fowler has been given rookie of the year! Yes he's had a good year but Rory McIlroy third in two majors and an absolute demolition of the field at Quail Hollow! Oh yes and on the winning Ryder cup team! Please! Is this yet another case of protectionism by the PGA Tour or are they so desperate to win something! Wouldn't have something to do with Rory not joining the tour next year?"
However if you look at the body of work Rickie Fowler put forth he has a strong case. You must also consider the fact that Rickie came straight to the tour from Oklahoma Statewhereas Rory turned professional in 2007 and came to the US tour after two years on the European Tour.
All that being said - isn't this a great argument to be have? Here are two of the finest young gunsthe PGA Tour has seen in a long while and we cannot decide who had the better year - fantastic! As someone once said to me, "These are high grade problems!"
The 2011 season is shaping up to be a beauty (even without Rory being an official member of the PGA Tour). Dustin, G-Mac, even Tiger! It's gonna be good....