On Tuesday, the PGA Tour announced that the Tour’s annual Rookie of the Year award will be renamed the Arnold Palmer Award.
The Tour appropriately chose to make the announcement at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
The Arnold Palmer Award will be voted on each year by members of the Tour. Rookie of the Year honors were first awarded on the PGA Tour in 1990, when Robert Gamez claimed the trophy. Since then, countless Tour stars have won the award, including Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, to name a few.
“Arnold Palmer was golf’s greatest ambassador with his go-for-broke style of play, his charitable endeavors and his true passion and respect for the game and its fans,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. “A thumbs up, a wink, a carefully signed autograph, a thank you – simple gestures like these passed on by Mr. Palmer to countless young players helped shape their character, on and off the golf course. The Arnold Palmer Award will now reflect those contributions in honoring the TOUR’s most outstanding rookie. Our thanks to the Palmer family and the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation for their support with this initiative.”
Palmer died in September 2016 at the age of 87. Perhaps no other person has had a bigger effect on popularizing professional golf, and golf in general, than Palmer did throughout his decades of involvement in the game.
Technically, the Arnold Palmer Award is not entirely new. Previously, the Arnold Palmer Award trophy was given to the PGA Tour’s season-long money leader. Now it will instead go to the Rookie of the Year.