Golfer Justin Thomas and tennis player Sloane Stephens have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for September.
Thomas was voted the PGA Tour Player of the Year after winning the FedEx Cup on 24 September 2017 with a second place finish in the Tour Championship. The American won five tournaments and his first major championship this season. Earlier in the month, Thomas shot a 17-under-par 267 to win the Dell Technologies Championship in Norton, Mass. The win included a record-breaking day when Thomas carded twelve “3” scores, the most ever for a single round in FedEx Cup Playoffs history.
Stephens won her first Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-0 win over fellow American Madison Keys in the U.S. Open final on 9 September 2017 in New York. Stephens is just the fifth unseeded female player to win a major title in the Open era.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American football player Bryce Love and third place went to Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal.
Love, the Stanford University running back, rushed for an NCAA best 1,088 yards on 98 attempts for eight touchdowns for the Cardinal in the first five games of the season in September. Love rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-24 win against Arizona State on 30 September 2017 and broke Stanford’s single-game rushing yardage record.
Nadal captured his 16th Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the U.S. Open final on 10 September 2017 in New York. It was Nadal’s third overall U.S. Open championship and second Grand Slam singles title this year.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American basketball player Sylvia Fowles and third place went to Swedish golfer Anna Nordqvist.
Fowles, the Minnesota Lynx center, was named the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player for the season and picked for the All-WNBA First Team on 29 September 2017. She shot a WNBA-best 65.5 percent from the field and averaged 18.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.97 blocks per game.
Nordqvist battled glandular fever, pouring rain and hail and shot a 9-under-par 204 to win the Evian Championship in Evian Les Bains, France, on 17 September 2017. It was her second career major title win.
Each month, the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes are used to guide the Academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.
The Athlete of the Year Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serves as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport.
The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Medallion Series, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 33rd year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.
By Eric Mann
Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy.