On Monday the PGA Tour announced that it's Rookie of the Year honor has been renamed to the Arnold Palmer Award.
“Arnold Palmer was golf’s greatest ambassador with his go-for-broke style of play, his charitable endeavors and his true passion and respect for the game and its fans,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “A thumbs up, a wink, a carefully signed autograph, a thank you – simple gestures like these passed on by Mr. Palmer to countless young players helped shape their character, on and off the golf course. The Arnold Palmer Award will now reflect those contributions in honoring the tour's most outstanding rookie. Our thanks to the Palmer family and the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation for their support with this initiative.”
The announcement coincides with this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. There are 12 former ROY winners in the tournament field, including Tiger Woods (1996), Ernie Els (1994), Rickie Fowler (2010) and reigning ROY Aaron Wise.
The award, which is voted on by the tour's membership, was first bestowed to Robert Gamez in 1990. Coincidentally, Gamez won that year's event at Bay Hill, holing out his second shot from the fairway on the 72nd hole to defeat Greg Norman by one stroke.
The Arnold Palmer Award was previously a trophy given to the tour's season money-leader.