The PGA Tour announced that Will Zalatoris was named the tour’s top rookie of 2020-21 season.
The Texan becomes the first player since 2001 to receive the PGA Tour’s marquee award without being a full-time member.
“On behalf of the PGA Tour, my congratulations to Will Zalatoris on being voted the 2021 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year by the Tour’s membership,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“Will’s success despite not having PGA TOUR membership status at the outset of the 2020-21 season is a testament to not only his ability but also his hard work and attitude.”
Zalatoris, who enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 on the Korn Ferry Tour, posted three top-10s in his first four events on the big tour’s wraparound fall season, including a T6 at the U.S. Open.
This earned the 25-year-old a special temporary membership for the remainder of the PGA Tour season, which meant unlimited sponsor exemptions.
Zalatoris added five more top 10s in the 2021 portion of the season, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the Masters and T8 at the PGA Championship. But without a win, Zalatoris was ineligible for the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs, despite finishing 25th in the standings.
Zalatoris beat out Garrick Higgo of South Africa, who won the the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in just eight starts.
Charles Howell III (2001) was the last player to win rookie of the year as a special temporary member.