Rory McIlroy: Scottie Scheffler to be PGA Tour POY, 'no doubt about that'

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ATLANTA – One of the more interesting player-of-the-year elections begins next week and yet it probably won’t be that close.

Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith will be the primary candidates for the Jack Nicklaus Award, which is voted on by the PGA Tour players. Scheffler won four times this season, including the Masters and WGC-Dell Match Play. Smith also won four times this season, including The Open and The Players.

On paper, that would be a statistical dead heat in many player’s minds, but not for Rory McIlroy.

“Scottie Scheffler is going to win the Player of the Year. There's no doubt about that,” said McIlroy, who outdueled Scheffler on Sunday at the Tour Championship to win the FedExCup. “He deserves this (FedExCup win) maybe more than I deserve it. He played an unbelievable season. Hell of a player, hell of a competitor. Even better person.”

Highlights: Tour Championship, final round

Although there is plenty of room to argue for Smith to be the front-runner for the Player of the Year Award, the Australian’s association with LIV Golf will likely be a deciding factor for many. Smith has declined to say what his future plans are, but multiple sources confirmed to GolfChannel.com that he will join LIV this week.

“They’re about to choose not to be on our tour so why would we give them a tour award?” said one player who requested anonymity. “You’re either on our tour or you’re not, that’s where we’re at. I would vote for a guy who played the year out and committed to our tour.”

Voting for the Nicklaus Award ends Sept. 9.