Before the Tour Championship, it looked like the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors would be held by the former trick-shot artist Wesley Bryan. But Xander Schauffele may have swooped in and snatched that piece of potential hardware from Bryan with his stunning Tour Championship victory.
History has shown us, for the most part, that the Rookie of the Year races is never decided before the Tour Championship. And this year would be no exception.
Before the Tour Championship, Bryan had five top-10 finishes and was honestly the name that garnered the most attention. It’s hard not to pull for the kid who went from being an Instagram trick-shot sensation to potential Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour. So many people who have followed the Bryan brothers (Wesley and George) and want nothing more than a Hollywood-scripted finish.
Unfortunately for Wesley he may need to find another piece of hardware to win because Schauffele has become the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors. It would actually be highway robbery if Bryan walked away with the trophy and not Schauffele.
Schauffele now has two victories on the PGA Tour this season – including the Tour Championship. He finished third in the FedEx Cup standings, has a better scoring average than Bryan, and is almost 20 spots higher on the Official World Golf Rankings.
The 23-year-old also surpassed Bryan on the money list by netting $3.5 million in that final weekend of the PGA Tour season – which leads to a total of $4.3 million as the grand total.
This putt was worth around $1.4m. 😱😮😦
— Trentham Park GC (@Trentham_Park) September 25, 2017
Bryan (27) and Schauffele (23) will be faces that golf fans should get to know because both will be around for quite some time. They have both secured their PGA Tour status with their Tour wins this season. They will also receive an exemption to play in the following tournaments in the 2017-18 season: The Players Championship, the Tournament of Champions, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Dean & Deluca Invitational, the Memorial Tournament, the Quicken Loans National, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Both Bryan and Schauffele are exempt from the PGA Championship. But Schauffele receives an exemption to the other three major championships next season because he made it to the last leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
This could have been the big-break the 23-year-old Schauffele needed to jump-start his PGA Tour career. He has talked about being a low-key guy who is always on the bubble. But now he will be thrust into golf’s limelight as he joins other young stars in the sport’s newest renaissance.
It will be interesting to watch how he performs under the microscope in golf’s four majors next season, especially with the Tour Championship and possible ROY to his credit. We saw last year that he folded after being at the top of the field in this year’s U.S. Open.
Xander Schauffele is off to the Tour Championship, the only rookie in the field, after -4, 67 at the BMW. pic.twitter.com/0DQChOnccU
— Alex Miceli (@alexmiceli) September 17, 2017
Normally it’s usually easier to win as an underdog because the pressure is diverted off you. And if you do win then you become a nice story for the press. In fact, Schauffele was given +9,000 (toward the basement in betting odds) to win the Tour Championship.
Will Schauffele and Bryan become the next studs to join the Jordan Spieth’s and Justin Thomas’ of the PGA Tour? We’ll find out when we put them under the microscope.