Langer named PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year for seventh time
Kelly earns Rookie of the Year honors after two victories during the 2017 season
January 17, 2018
- January 17, 2018
- Bernhard Langer earned POY honors for the seventh time, while Jerry Kelly was voted Rookie of the Year. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA TOUR Champions has named Bernhard Langer the recipient of the 2017 Jack Nicklaus Award, given annually to the Player of the Year, and Jerry Kelly the 2017 Rookie of the Year. Both players were presented their awards Tuesday evening at the PGA TOUR Champions Annual Awards Dinner held at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
After capturing three major victories and seven wins total, Langer was named the Tour’s Player of the Year for the seventh time in his career and fourth year in a row. He also won the Arnold Palmer Award (leading money winner) for the sixth straight year and ninth time overall, and the Byron Nelson Award (lowest scoring average) for the fourth straight year and sixth time overall.
"I’m very blessed and proud of how I played in 2017, and I’m humbled that my peers voted for me as Player of the Year,” said Langer, who won the player vote over fellow nominees Kevin Sutherland, Scott McCarron, Colin Montgomerie and Kelly. “PGA TOUR Champions keeps getting better and better, and the great competition pushes me to find ways to improve so I can continue to compete at the highest level.”
In 2017, Langer became the first player to complete the “Senior Slam” when he won the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, and two months later he surpassed Jack Nicklaus as the Tour’s all-time leader in major victories (10) when he won The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex. In all, he has 36 career wins, which is nine shy of Hale Irwin’s record of 45.
“Bernhard’s career includes several great seasons, and he excelled in 2017,” said PGA TOUR Champions President Greg McLaughlin. “He always seemed to play his best when it counted the most, and to win seven times including two Charles Schwab Cup Playoff events and three major championships is a remarkable accomplishment.”
Kelly was the only rookie to win in 2017, and his two victories helped him finish seventh in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings, best among first-year players.
“I came out for my first year on PGA TOUR Champions and was incredibly surprised at the level of play,” said Kelly, who won the player vote over David Toms. “I felt very fortunate to win twice and hopefully I can continue to contend for many years to come.”
Including his wins at the Boeing Classic and the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, Kelly tallied 10 top-10s and at one point carded 16 consecutive rounds in the 60s, establishing a new record on PGA TOUR Champions.
“We had an incredible rookie class in 2017, and Jerry played very well and earned the title of Rookie of the Year,” McLaughlin said. “To finish seventh in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings in his first year is an outstanding achievement on PGA TOUR Champions.”
The 2018 season begins Thursday, January 18, with the first round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. Langer is the defending champion, while Kelly will make his first appearance. For more information on PGA TOUR Champions, please visit PGATOUR.COM.
Bernhard Langer – Jack Nicklaus Award, Arnold Palmer Award, Byron Nelson Award
Players often say every victory is meaningful, and the cliché held true for Langer in 2017. He opened the season with a win at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai on his 33rd wedding anniversary. His next three wins came at majors, and in the process, he became the Tour’s all-time leader in major victories (10) and just the second player to win three majors in a season. He won the PURE Insurance Championship, his first victory at Pebble Beach, and he won the first two events of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. In all, he led the Charles Schwab Cup standings 23 of 26 weeks and led the Tour with 16 top-10s. Though he finished second in the final standings and fell short in his bid to win his fourth straight Charles Schwab Cup, it was his sixth consecutive top-two finish in the season-long competition.
By season’s end, he amassed $3,677,359 in winnings, breaking the record he established in 2014, and won the Arnold Palmer Award for the sixth straight year. In fact, he has been the Tour’s leading money winner every year since he turned 50, with two exceptions – 2007 (he turned 50 in August of that year) and 2011 (he missed multiple events due to injury). He finished $1,003,164 ahead of Scott McCarron, the third time in the last four years he has won the money title by more than $1 million. His career winnings in 209 starts on PGA TOUR Champions is $24,599,350.
The 60-year-old finished with the second-best scoring average in Tour history, as his 68.03 average was fractionally better than his average in 2014. Had he taken five fewer strokes over his 70-round season, he would have beaten the record set by Fred Couples in 2010 (67.96). Langer’s average was .76 strokes better than second-ranked Kevin Sutherland, which equates to 2.28 strokes during a 54-hole tournament. By winning the Byron Nelson Award, it marks the fourth straight season Langer has won each of the Tour’s three major year-end awards.
Jerry Kelly – Rookie of the Year
Kelly rose to the top of a celebrated rookie class that included David Toms, Steve Flesch and Steve Stricker. After turning 50 on November 23, 2016, Kelly debuted with a T3 finish at the Chubb Classic. He added three more top-10s before entering the winner’s circle at the Boeing Classic. That victory started a streak of five straight top-10s, which included another victory at the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship. He finished the year with the fifth-best scoring average (69.34), thanks in part to his record-setting streak of 16 straight rounds in the 60s, and he was seventh in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Bernhard Langer posts career year in 2017