Brooks Koepka voted PGA Tour's top player of the year

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By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer

U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka added to his trophy collection Tuesday when he picked up the Jack Nicklaus Award trophy as the PGA Tour player of the year.

Koepka is the sixth player in the last six years to win the award, the longest streak of different winners since PGA Tour players began voting on the award in 1990.

Along with winning two majors, Koepka said he was most proud of his attitude when he wasn't playing. He missed four months at the start of the year recovering from a partially torn tendon in his left wrist but then made up for lost time in a big way.

"I was down when I was missing everything," Koepka said. "I tried to have the most positive spin on it when I was home. It did stink. It was the worst, emotionally tough times for me. Sometimes when I would question it, I kept saying: 'I'll do it. I'll be fine.' Good news or bad news, I had positive energy."

In his fourth tournament back, he was runner-up at Colonial. Three weeks later, he held off Dustin Johnson at Shinnecock Hills to win the U.S. Open for the second straight year, becoming the first back-to-back U.S. Open champion since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989.

Two months later, Koepka held off Tiger Woods amid ear-splitting roars on the back nine at Bellerive to win the PGA Championship by two shots. Koepka tied a major championship record by finishing at 264.

He became the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year, joining Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.

The tour does not disclose how many votes he received from a ballot that included Johnson, British Open champion Francesco Molinari, FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau.

Johnson, Thomas and DeChambeau each won three times.

Thomas won the Arnold Palmer Trophy for leading the PGA Tour money list for the second straight year, making him the first player since Woods in 2006-07 to win the money title in consecutive years.

Johnson won the Byron Nelson Award for having the lowest adjusted scoring average on the PGA Tour. He also won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average, which is awarded by the PGA of America.

Koepka's award was presented at The Bear's Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, the home course of Nicklaus.

Thomas was in Malaysia to start his new season. Johnson came by The Bear's Club and did a short video with Koepka, one of his best friends in golf, just a week after a British newspaper reported they had to be separated during a skirmish at a European party following the Ryder Cup. Koepka denies being in a fight, saying he and Johnson laughed about the report.

Koepka received the award during his one week at home. After the Ryder Cup, he played the Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews. He leaves this weekend for the CJ Cup in South Korea, followed by the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

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