Scheffler beats Cam Smith to PGA award

·2-min read

Scottie Scheffler has been named as the PGA Tour player of the year as, to no-one's great surprise, short-listed Australian star Cameron Smith missed out on the prestigious accolade.

A potentially embarrassing situation arose for the PGA when Queenslander Smith earned his place on the three-man shortlist along with Scheffler and Rory McIlroy.

It came just a few days after the British Open champion had deserted the PGA Tour to join its bitter new rival, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

But the PGA Tour chiefs were doubtless left breathing sighs of relief on Saturday when the voters - fellow PGA Tour members who've played in 15 tournaments - plumped overwhelmingly for Scheffler, as he picked up 89% of the votes.

Even given Smith's stellar year, having won The Players Championship and the Open at St Andrews en route to becoming the world No.2, there still couldn't be any great argument about the 26-year-old Scheffler taking the big prize.

The American was rewarded after his own astonishing season in which he won his maiden major at the Masters in addition to four other Tour victories, the most for any player during the season.

He's become the first man to win player of the year on the Korn Ferry Tour, rookie of the year on the PGA Tour and Tour player of the year, all in a span of four seasons.

Scheffler was taken by surprise when he received the Jack Nicklaus Award during an appearance on ESPN's "College GameDay" in Austin, Texas, and admitted it was "pretty cool".

"I definitely was not expecting that. But it means a lot to me," he said.

Scheffler's earnings in the regular season were a record $US14,046,910 ($A21 million), giving him total income from all his performances at just short of $US25 million ($A37 million).

"Undoubtably, one of the highest compliments a player can receive is the endorsement from his peers, and the fact that Scottie's season was both dominant and consistent spoke volumes to the membership," Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

Smith's three victories came at the Tournament of Champions, The Players Championship and the British Open, where he shot 30 on the back nine.

McIlroy won the CJ Cup in Las Vegas last year, the Canadian Open in June and the Tour Championship. He was the only player to finish in the top 10 in all four majors and captured the FedEx Cup for the third time.

Even then, McIlroy could appreciate the year Scheffler had.

"He deserves this maybe more than I deserve it. He played an unbelievable season," McIlroy said.

"Hell of a player, hell of a competitor. Even better person. Love his family."

With AP