Year-end awards are rarely something that I give much thought to, but this season’s race for Rookie of the Year has me puzzled.
There are five candidates up for the honor, but only two have won regular-season PGA Tour events—Chez Reavie (Canadian Open) and Andres Romero (Zurich Classic). In my book, that elevates them above Dustin Johnson, Marc Turnesa and Kevin Streelman.
But to call Andres Romero (right) a "rookie" isn’t quite accurate. True, this was his first season as a member of the PGA Tour, but unlike others up for the award, he was exempt into all four of 2008’s major championships because of his outstanding play in 2007.
He won the European Tour’s 2007 Deutsche Bank Players Championship and finished third at the British Open at Carnoustie (which lifted his world ranking to 29 from 109). A sixth-place showing at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a no-cut event that he qualified for based on that world ranking, moved him up to No. 25 and earned the Argentine $202,000.
All of that ensured that the officials who wrote the 2008 PGA Tour Media Guide saved a page for him in the players’ section right next to Justin Rose.
To find Chez Reavie in the media guide, you’ll need to search in "Other Prominent PGA Tour Members." A three-time All-American at Arizona State and winner of the 2001 U.S. Public Links Championship, Reavie earned his exempt status on the PGA Tour by finishing 18th on the Nationwide Tour in 2007. His previous career winnings on the PGA Tour were $7,840, and his highest world ranking was 211.
My gripe is not with Romero, who is talented, fearless and is going to win again. It’s with the committee that would put a player with his credentials into consideration for ROTY in the first place. (Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)