PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Reigning National Champion Rod Perry of Port Orange, Fla., put the finishing touches on a memorable 2013 season by capturing his second consecutive PGA Professional Player of the Year award.
Perry, 40, the PGA head professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange, secured the honor by finishing tied for third in the final PGA Tournament Series event of the season at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Perry is the lone left-handed player and sole PGA Golf Management University graduate to win a PGA Professional National Championship and a PGA Professional Player of the Year Award.
Perry won his first National Championship in June in Sunriver, Ore., and then added a seventh North Florida PGA Section Championship and seventh Section Player of the Year title. Over the past two months in the six-event PGA Tournament Series, he collected four top-10 finishes and placed fourth on the money list. Perry earned 1,191.5 overall points to edge former National Champion Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, a three-time PGA Professional Player of the Year who had 1,107.5 points. Jeff Sorenson of Blaine, Minn., was next at 771.25, followed by David Muttitt of Albuquerque, N.M., with 771, and Kelly Mitchum of Southern Pines, N.C., with 757.5.
Perry is the second North Florida PGA member (following Brett Upper of Clearwater, Fla., in 1990) to garner a PGA Professional Player of the Year, an award which began in 1984. Perry will be honored June 20, 2014, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the 47th PGA Professional National Championship presented by Club Car, Mercedes-Benz USA and OMEGA. The 2013 Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year also will be honored at that time, but the recipient will be determined April 18, 2014, following the conclusion of the postponed Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship.
Perry said the comfort of a support staff during his absence from Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club enabled him to concentrate on the PGA Tournament Series as well as other national events throughout the season.
"Last year, it was all new to me being in position to win this award," said Perry. "This year, I was a little more knowledgeable about the system. When Bob Sowards came out of the gate this year and won the PGA Stroke and Match Play titles, I knew that it was going to be difficult to repeat. Thankfully, after winning my Section Championship, I had momentum. Bob Sowards is an excellent player, and it is never easy to keep him at bay in any event.
"It is a great situation to be in to have the support of your club's owners - the Becks Corporation - and that of Director of Business Development Craig Wells along with our members and staff. Their support allowed me the chance to go out and contend for this award. The members take a very wholehearted interest in not only my playing but my whole life."
The final Player of the Year standings were determined based on a point system involving national and PGA Section competitions from Jan. 1 through Dec. 20, 2013.
Perry garnered 500 points for winning the PGA Professional National Championship, 300 for the North Florida PGA Section Player of the Year, 100 additional points for winning the Section Championship; 149 for making the cut in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and 50 more for competing in the Tampa Bay Championship. He rounded out his season by earning 70 points for finishing fourth on the PGA Tournament Series money list and 22.5 for making the cut in the PGA Stroke Play Championship.
"Finishing runner-up for three straight years is not the way you want to end up, but give Rod the credit for a fantastic year," said Sowards, the 2004 PGA Professional National Champion and the 2003-05 PGA Professional Player of the Year. "He's a great guy and we have played a lot together, and were each members of the PGA Cup Team this year. It's always my goal to win this award."
For more information about the PGA of America, visit www.pgamediacenter.com
2013 PGA Professional Player of the Year Standings
Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla., North Florida, 1191.50
Bob Sowards, Dublin, Ohio, Southern Ohio, 1107.50
Jeff Sorenson, Blaine, Minn., Minnesota, 771.25
David Muttitt, Albuquerque, N.M., Sun Country, 771.00
Kelly Mitchum, Southern Pines, N.C., Carolinas, 757.50
Mike Small, Champaign, Ill., Illinois, 673.75
Chip Sullivan, Troutville, Va., Middle Atlantic, 666.75
Rob Moss, Broadview Hts., Ohio, Northern Ohio, 657.50
Rob Labritz, Pound Ridge, N.Y., Metropolitan, 645.00
Brian Cairns, Walled Lake, Mich., Michigan, 641.75