Morikawa, Korda, Mickelson Are Golf Writers’ Players of The Year
The Golf Writers Association of America (of which your friendly neighborhood GolfBlogger is a member) has voted Collin Morikawa, Nelly Korda and Phil Mickelson as the 2021 Players of the Year.
I have to admit that I was withholding judgment over Morikawa after his 2020 PGA Championship victory. We have seen enough “one hit Major wonders,” particularly at the PGA (Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Y.E. Yang, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Wayne Grady), for reasonable observers to be skeptical.
In 2021, however, Morikawa won the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s and the WGC-Workday while ascending to second in the World Golf Rankings. He tied for fourth at the US Open, was T8 at the PGA and placed fourth at the Olympics.
Quite a year.
Nelly Korda not only won Olympic Gold, she had four LPGA TOUR wins and six top tens. It was good to see her win the title at Michigan’s Meijer LPGA Classic.
And Phil is Phil. His PGA Championship win as Kiawah Island at age 50 (and 11 months) was one for the ages.
In addition, Phil won four times in six starts on the PGA TOUR Champions. One of those was the season capping Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
It is going to take me a while, though before I start thinking of Mickelson as a member of the senior tour. It is obviously taking him a while to wrap his head around it since he continues to tee it up on the regular circuit.
The full press release follows:
MORIKAWA, KORDA, MICKELSON VOTED GWAA PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
HOUSTON (January 27, 2022) — Collin Morikawa, Nelly Korda and Phil Mickelson have been named respective winners of the 2021 player of the year awards by the Golf Writers Association of America.
Morikawa, who turns 25 on Feb. 6, was voted Male Player of the Year for the first time. Korda, 23, earned Female Player of the Year honors for the first time. Mickelson, 51, who has never won the GWAA’s Male Player of the Year award, was voted Senior Player of the Year for the first time.
Morikawa, ranked second in the Official World Golf Ranking to Spain’s Jon Rahm, received 48 percent of the vote to 37 percent for runner-up Rahm.
Morikawa won twice in a sensational 2021 season, highlighted by his victory in the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, where he shot 67-64-68-66 and edged runner-up Jordan Spieth by two shots. He also won the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession.
Morikawa tied for fourth at the U.S. Open, tied for eighth as defending champion at the PGA Championship and tied for fourth at the Olympic Men’s Golf Competition in Japan. He led the PGA Tour in greens in regulation (79.17%) and capped the season by going 3-0-1 in the Ryder Cup, helping the U.S. to a resounding 19-9 victory over Team Europe at Whistling Straits.
“It is an incredible honor to be named by the Golf Writers Association of America as their Male Player of the Year for 2021,” Morikawa said. “I have a deep appreciation for the journalists dedicated to promoting our great game, and to be recognized amongst the names of past winners is humbling.”
Korda won four times on the LPGA Tour and added six more top-10 finishes. Her victories came in the Pelican Women’s Championship, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the Meijer LPGA Classic and the Gainbridge LPGA.
In August, she struck gold in Japan, winning the Olympic Women’s Golf Competition. She also was a member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team. Korda received 72% of the GWAA vote.
“It is a huge honor and privilege to be voted Female Player of the Year,’’ Korda said. “I am extremely grateful to be the recipient of this year’s award alongside all the other incredible past honorees. Thank you to the entire team at the Golf Writers Associate of America. It truly means a lot to me to receive this recognition and it will be something I will forever cherish.”
Mickelson made the most of just six starts on the PGA Tour Champions in the 2020-’21 wraparound season, winning four times. He won the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic and the Constellation Furyk & Friends and capped his season by winning the Schwab Cup Championship.
And, of course, he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island to become the oldest-ever major champion. He received 59 percent of the vote.
“I’m very appreciative of that honor,” Mickelson said of his Senior Player of the Year Award. “I had a really fun time playing some Champions tour events and last year was a really special year, obviously winning the PGA Championship and playing and competing in the Champions tour events, and having success was really special. Being able to spend time with so many guys that I grew up playing with, I’m just honored.”
Morikawa, Korda and Mickelson will be honored at the 48th annual GWAA Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga., on April 6.