With the 2012 PGA season winding down, it is time to start looking forward to some of the awards that will be passed out. My favorite is the Vardon Trophy and The Byron Nelson Award. Both awards are issued to the golfer with the lowest scoring average for the entire season. The two awards differ a little, and I will explain.
First of all, the Vardon Trophy is presented by The PGA of America, and The Byron Nelson is presented by The PGA Tour. The Vardon Trophy requires 60 rounds minimum to be eligible, and The Byron Nelson only requires 50 rounds. Only on a few occasions have the winners of both trophies been a different player. The last time was 1995 when Steve Elkington won the Vardon, and Greg Norman the Nelson. You can imagine who pretty much dominated both trophies over the past 17 years. Tiger Woods won both awards a record eight times since 1997.
All metal play rounds are counted, and the the stroke total is used to calculate the averages. All match play events such as the Accenture Match Play Championships, and The International, the player is given credit for the rounds total, but the scores are not used in the calculations.
This years recipient of these awards will most likely be Rory McIlroy. He currently has a scoring average of 62.7. Just so you know how good that is, it is 9.1 strokes per round better than number two, Tiger Woods. Tiger has a stroke average this year of 67.8. Jason Dufner is third with an average of 69.0. McIlroy’s 62.7 is the lowest average in history.
The previous record was held by Tiger Woods at 67.79 in 2007, and last years winner of both trophies, was Luke Donald with an average of 68.86.
The Vardon Trophy was first awarded 1n 1937 to Harry Cooper. It was determined on a points system back in those days, and followed this format until the 1941 season. The award was not given out during the war years, and was resumed in 1947. The stroke average method was adopted, and is still in place today. Jimmy Demaret won the first new award. The Byron Nelson Award was started in 1980.
With Byron Nelson having his greatest year in 1939, he would win his only Vardon Trophy in that year.