World No.1 Jason Day has taken out his second consecutive Australian Golf Digest Player of the Year Award at a packed Sydney Cricket Ground Trust Suite last night.
Day was duly rewarded for a breakout season in which he remained world No.1 for 38 consecutive weeks, won three titles including the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play and THE PLAYERS Championship, while he also finished runner-up in the US PGA Championship before back injuries prematurely ended his season when a Fedex Cup title looked likely.
Accepting his award on the night, Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said Day had once again made his country proud.
“The way he conducts himself and obviously the way he has managed to produce such high-quality golf on a consistent basis is a real credit to him,” Pitt told the SCG crowd.
“His own childhood story is inspiring enough, with all the sacrifices his family had to make just so he could play golf. But the fact Jason has gone on to become the world’s best golfer says a lot about his determination and work ethic.”
ABOVE: Amateur Player of the Year Curtis Luck with Australian Golf Digest editor-in-chief Brad Clifton
Another big winner on the night was Western Australian amateur sensation Curtis Luck, who took out the Amateur of the Year title. Gregarious, self-assured and with a penchant for growing beards, Luck is the type of character that golf craves. And he can play golf, too.
In an extraordinary year, the hirsute 20-year-old from Perth:
- Triumphed at the WA Open to become the third amateur winner in 25 years;
- Tied for fifth to be low amateur at the ISPS HANDA Global Cup on the Japan Golf Tour;
- Won the United States Amateur Championship, demolishing Brad Dalke 6&4 in the final at Oakland Hills to earn invitations to the Masters, US Open and British Open;
- Helped Australia claim its fourth Eisenhower Trophy in Mexico where he combined with Cameron Davis and Harrison Endycott to win the World Amateur Teams Championship by an astonishing 19 strokes;
- Willed himself to victory at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Korea where he overhauled a seven-stroke deficit on the final day to beat countryman Brett Coletta by a shot.
“I think it is the greatest stand-alone amateur season from anyone in the history of Australian golf,” says Golf Australia’s high-performance director Brad James.
“To accomplish what he’s accomplished – not only at the amateur level but also the professional level – it’s a standout season.”
Luck revealed on the night that he intends to turn professional after next year’s US Masters, where he is exempt to play in what will be a memorable debut at Augusta.
As has become the tradition of the Australian Golf Digest Player of the Year Awards, everyone in attendance made their way on to the SCG arena for a special par-3 shootout under lights, with Senior Player of the Year winner Peter Fowler coming up trumps with the very first shot of the evening, stiffing a wedge to three feet on the purpose-built hole.
— Mark Hayes (@Hayesy24) November 14, 2016
Full List of Award Winners:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jason Day
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Minjee Lee
AMATEUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Curtis Luck
ROOKIE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Su Oh
SENIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Peter Fowler
TRAINEE OF THE YEAR: Brodie Martin
JUNIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Min Woo Lee
COACH OF THE YEAR: Dean Kinney
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR: Mick McCombe
SERVICES TO GOLF: Duncan Andrews
CLUB ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Curlewis Golf Club
— Golf Australia (@GolfAust) November 14, 2016