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Fellow players have Ryder Cup snub's back as Adrian Meronk wins DP World Tour Player of the Year

January 16, 2024

Adrian Meronk is presented the Seve Ballesteros Award for the 2023 DP World Tour Player of the Year by Javier Ballesteros prior to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Richard Heathcote

DUBAI — In an announcement that will surely provoke a few knowing smiles and nods of agreement around the DP World Tour, Adrian Meronk has won the 2023 Seve Ballesteros Award after being voted Player of the Year by his peers. The first Polish native to do just about anything in golf, the 30-year-old four-time winner on the Old World circuit is the first from his home nation to win the award at the end of a season in which he finished a career-high fourth on the Race to Dubai standings.

“Adrian has made history throughout his career, and I’m delighted to congratulate him once again, this time for adding his name to the illustrious list of winners of this award,” said Keith Pelley, chief executive of the DP World Tour. “Any season that includes three trophies—including two national opens—is always impressive, and Adrian’s peers clearly thought so.”

All of which is more than enough to justify Meronk’s winning of a ballot where he received 38 percent of the votes. Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy finished second, with Ryder Cup rookie Nicolai Hojgaard and FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland tied for third.

Mention of the Ryder Cup immediately brings to mind European captain Luke Donald’s controversial decision not to award one of his six captain’s picks to Meronk. That omission did not go down well with a significant number of DP World Tour players. Combined with Meronk’s consistently high level of play, many saw the lanky Pole’s support of his home tour—he played in 24 events over the course of the 2022-23 season—worthy of selection ahead of those less inclined to do so.

Of the six picks, only Hojgaard came anywhere close to Meronk’s level of attendance, starting 17 events. Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood managed 12 appearances. Justin Rose and Sepp Straka both played in nine. (In his abbreviated season after only turning pro in June, Ludvig Aberg competed in five). All evidence of what many DP World Tour pros increasingly believe: that playing your way into the biennial contest with the United States on the back of a predominantly DP World Tour schedule ranks somewhere between incredibly difficult and close to impossible.

Still, none of that seemed to be occupying Meronk’s mind as he posed with Seve’s son, Javier Ballesteros, and the trophy, a silver salver, on the range at the Emirates Club in Dubai, where later this week the Dubai Desert Classic will take place.

“It feels amazing,” said Meronk, who succeeded last year’s winner, New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, in claiming an award that, two years ago, amalgamated with the former Golfer of the Year award to become one singular honor voted for by the players. “I'm shocked to be honest; I didn't expect this. But seeing my name next to all of these players, it's unbelievable. I'm very grateful for this award. It means a lot to me that other players appreciate my play last year. It's a great feeling. Last year was the best season so far in my career. I'm really happy that other players saw that, as well.”

Yes, Adrian. They noticed. And reacted accordingly. Or appropriately, depending on your point of view.