KORN FERRY TOUR FINALS
Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year candidates
October 01, 2021
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- October 01, 2021
- Stephan Jaeger received his trophy for the No. 1 spot on The 25 at the PGA TOUR season-opening Fortinet Championship. (Dave Evenson/PGA TOUR)
Five of the last six Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year winners have proceeded to win on the PGA TOUR – Sungjae Im (2018), Chesson Hadley (2017), Wesley Bryan (2016), Patton Kizzire (2015) and Carlos Ortiz (2014).
The lone exception of the six: 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler, who is currently No. 21 on the Official World Golf Ranking, was a member of last month’s victorious United States Ryder Cup team and has advanced to the TOUR Championship in each of his first two TOUR seasons.
The recent success of Korn Ferry Tour Players of the Year is no coincidence. In the 32-year history of the Korn Ferry Tour, four past award winners have gone on to become major champions – Tom Lehman (1991), Stewart Cink (1996), Zach Johnson (2003) and Jimmy Walker (2004).
Following a historic, two-year wraparound season, the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year will be announced in November. The following four players – Stephan Jaeger, Mito Pereira, Greyson Sigg and Mito Pereira – are each on the ballot.
Wins: 2020 Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, 2021 Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin
Points Standings: No. 1 on Regular Season Points List; No. 1 on combined Points List; No. 4 on Finals Points List despite only playing two of three events
Jaeger’s case is simple: No. 1 in both the Regular Season and combined Points Standings. The 32-year-old from Munich, Germany with six career Korn Ferry Tour wins is arguably the greatest player in Korn Ferry Tour history, but even he has never produced a season this dominant. In 35 starts, he posted two wins, four runners-up and seven additional top-10s and is now off to the PGA TOUR with fully-exempt status and an exemption into the 2022 PLAYERS Championship.
The former UT-Chattanooga Moc played the PGA TOUR in 2018 and 2019 but lost his card and started out slow in his return to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 with only one top-10 in his first 13 starts. A win, though, in August 2020 at the Albertsons Boise Open opened the floodgates and he was utterly dominant the rest of the way with 11 top-5s in his last 22 starts, including two wins.
Jaeger remains only one win shy of Jason Gore’s all-time Korn Ferry Tour record of seven wins, but he’s hoping it’s a record he’ll never again have a shot at challenging as he returns to the PGA TOUR.
Wins: 2020 Country Club de Bogota Championship, 2021 REX Hospital Open, 2021 BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation
Points Standings: No. 2 on Regular Season Points List; No. 5 on combined Points List
Mito Pereira has one qualification that none of the other three on the list can match: the vaunted Three-Victory Promotion. The 26-year-old from Santiago, Chile became only the 12th player in Korn Ferry Tour history to earn the Three-Victory Promotion to the PGA TOUR after back-to-back wins in June. He also finished second in the Regular Season Points Standings despite not playing the last three months of the Korn Ferry Tour season. After taking his path to the TOUR, Pereira showed his game translates to any level with three top-6s in his first seven starts plus a T4 at the Olympics.
It hasn’t always come this easy for Pereira, though. In his first 45 career Korn Ferry Tour starts, he had two top-10s; however, in his last 32 starts, he has attained nine top-10s with three wins. He did lose his status in 2018 after finishing No. 112 on the Points List with seven made cuts in 21 starts. As a result, he returned to PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and worked his way back up in 2019, finishing No. 10 on the Order of Merit to earn a spot at Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, where he finished T41 en route to his historic season.
Wins: 2021 Visit Knoxville Open, 2021 Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron
Points Standings: No. 6 on Regular Season Points List; No. 3 on Finals Points List; No. 2 on combined Points List
Georgia golf associate head coach Jim Douglas used to joke that Greyson Sigg could wake up, roll out of bed and do what he does, which is hit beautiful 5-yard frozen rope draws down fairways and straight at flags. It certainly appeared that way in 2020 and 2021 on the Korn Ferry Tour, as Sigg was continually at the top of leaderboards with 10 top-10s including two wins in 35 starts. The Augusta, Georgia native finished inside the top-25 more times (19) than he finished outside (16). No surprise that kind of consistency sent him all the way up to second on the combined Regular Season and Finals Points Standings.
Despite all the PGA TOUR winners that the Georgia Bulldogs keep cranking out, Sigg could become the program’s first to ever earn Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year honors. Sigg, who turned pro in 2017, spent three years on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and earned his way into Final Stage of Q-School via a 10th-place finish on the 2019 Order of Merit.
Now, two years later, the PGA TOUR will be subject to the same consistent stripe show that has come to define his game over the years among his peers.
Wins: 2020 TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes
Points Standings: No. 9 on Regular Season Points List; No. 14 on combined Points List
At No. 32 on the Official World Golf Ranking with 2021 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year honors already on his resume, it’s easy to forget that a little over a year ago, Will Zalatoris, 25, was dominating the Korn Ferry Tour. In 16 starts, he hadn’t missed a cut and posted a win to go with nine additional top-10s. Perhaps the most ridiculous/startling Zalatoris stat of all from the Korn Ferry Tour this season is the fact that he hit 81.3 percent of his greens in regulation – over 6 percent higher than Ben Kohles in second.
But none of that had resulted in a PGA TOUR start in nearly three years until he qualified for the 2020 U.S. Open through a special exemption given out via his position on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, due to open qualifying not happening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Zalatoris went on to finish T6 at Winged Foot and the rest is history. He added two additional top-10s at major championships with a solo second at the Masters Tournament and T8 at the PGA Championship. In total, he made 21 of 25 cuts on TOUR with eight top-10s. His 1,296 non-member FedExCup points at the end of the 2021 Regular Season would have put him at 25th in the FedExCup standings if he were a member. To give an indication of just how good that is, his 1,296 points would have been five ahead of some guy named Rory McIlroy.