Rory McIlroy may not have added to his collection of major titles during the 2018-19 campaign, but the Northern Irishman did enough to be named the PGA Tour Player of the Year for a third time.
The 30-year-old, who won three titles during the season including the Players Championship and Tour Championship, beat Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar and Xander Schauffele in a vote by players for the Jack Nicklaus Award on Wednesday.
"I couldn't be more proud of what I achieved this year," said McIlroy, who had 14 top-10 finishes in his 19 starts.
"I wanted to try to bring my best every single week that I played, and I feel like I did that to the best of my ability."
McIlroy, who won the award in 2012 and 2014, made 17 of 19 cuts while racking up three victories, the final one at the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta where he also claimed the FedExCup for a US$15 million (AU$22 million) payday.
The four-time major champion's other victory came in his RBC Canadian Open debut, where he set a tournament record and won by seven shots – the largest winning margin of the season.
But when it came to the majors, McIlroy finished tied for 21st at the Masters, tied for eighth at the US PGA Championship, tied for ninth at the US Open and missed the cut at the Open Championship in his native Northern Ireland.
RIGHT: McIlroy won the Jack Nicklaus Award over Koepka. PHOTO: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
McIlroy admitted he was surprised to win the award over Koepka, who last month was named PGA of America Player of the Year and considered the front-runner after finishing in the top-five at each major, including at the US PGA Championship where he picked up his fourth major title.
"Players don't just feel that four weeks a year is important," McIlroy said.
"It's a huge vote of confidence from the players that we play for more than just maybe what the narrative suggests.
"I thought maybe Brooks wining the PGA Championship this year was going to be the difference maker but the other players thought differently. I am very honoured that they thought enough of my season to give me this award."
When asked if he would rather have a year like 2019 or 2014 – when he won consecutive majors at the Open Championship and US PGA Championship, sandwiched around his win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – McIlroy took a few moments before replying.
"Every year is different. I've already had a year like 2014, I might have a year like that again," he said.
"I'm happier with where my game is now. I feel like I'm a better player now than I was in 2014. And that gives me a lot going forward."
South Korean Sungjae Im was voted PGA Tour Rookie of the Year after a campaign in which he had seven top-10 finishes in 35 events and was the only rookie to make the Tour Championship.