(HOUSTON) — In contrast to a fiercely contested 2016 golf season, Player-of-the-Year honors were runaway decisions, according to members of the Golf Writers Association of America.
Dustin Johnson and Ariya Jutanugarn were easy first-time winners for male and female honors, while Bernhard Langer was a near-unanimous choice for a third win in the senior category.
“It means a great deal to be recognized by my many friends in the media,” said Johnson, 32, who broke through for his first major championship when he won the U.S. Open at Oakmont. He added wins at two other marquee events — the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and BMW Championship, a FedEx Cup playoff — and was top five in half of his 22 starts.
“I’m proud to be the recipient of their prestigious award.”
Johnson was named on 82 percent of the GWAA ballots, easily outdistancing Henrik Stenson and Jason Day.
Jutanugarn earned 85 percent of the votes after a season in which she won five times, including the Ricoh Women’s British Open. The 21-year-old from Thailand also captured the season-long Race to CME Globe and the money list.
“It is a great honor to be voted as the LPGA Tour Player of the Year,” said Jutanugarn, who beat out Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson. “It is special because I am being recognized by the media, the exact people who cover golf all year long and get to watch us closely on weekly basis.
“It gives me great pride and confidence to have my name alongside the past great recipients.”
Dominating as those seasons were, GWAA voters apparently considered Langer’s to be even more so. Named on 97 percent of the ballots, the 59-year-old Langer piled up four more wins, two of them majors, and also took home the season-long Schwab Cup.
“I am thrilled to have been voted Senior Player of the Year by the Golf Writers Association of America. It is an amazing honor and a highlight of my career,” said Langer, whose previous POY wins came in 2010 and 2014.
Johnson, Jutanugarn and Langer will receive their awards at the 45th ISPS HANDA GWAA Annual Awards Dinner presented by The PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA Wednesday April 5 in Augusta, Ga.