David Nyfjäll Named 2023 Byron Nelson Award Recipient
McKINNEY, Texas - David Nyfjäll of Northwestern was named the 2023 Byron Nelson Award recipient by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and GCAA this afternoon at TPC Craig Ranch. Awarded every year since 2002, Nyfjäll joins Ryan Lumsden (2019) as the only other Northwestern golfer to receive the Nelson Award.
The recipient, a graduating senior, is recognized for his achievement in the classroom, on the course, and in his community. Particular consideration is given to their good citizenship, as portrayed by Mr. Nelson over the course of his life and golf career.
(Photo courtesy of Northwestern University Athletics)
Nyfjäll graduates next month with a bachelor’s degree in Statistics and minors in Business Institutions, Psychology, and Data Science. The 3.776 GPA student from Uppsala, Sweden has been involved with Northwestern’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) since he stepped foot in Evanston, volunteering his time for canned food drives, a lip sync battle to benefit the university’s dance marathon, and with his teammates at the local golf course to help with course restoration.
"Winning the Byron Nelson Award is incredibly special,” said Nyfjäll. “It’s such an honor to have the opportunity to represent Mr. Nelson and his legacy of prioritizing helping others.”
Through Northwestern Golf, Nyfjäll has been a Team IMPACT role model to Luke Rowen since August 2020, a connection that has soared with each meeting. Team IMPACT matches children facing serious illness and disability with college sports teams across America.
“From the first moment I met Luke in person, I knew he would change what golf meant to me as a player and leader,” Nyfjäll said. “With Luke, I’m constantly looking for ways to learn together, whether it be at our practice facility or over a cornhole match in our coach’s backyard.”
Rowen was born with cerebral palsy but has always been active in sports at his school and quickly developed a love for golf through his friendship with Nyfjäll. Before Rowen’s first race as an aspiring runner, Nyfjäll sent him a video of encouragement and had one of his friends, who was on Northwestern’s cross country team, send a text with her tips to race and how to “stay smiling” when things got tough.
“Next thing we knew, Luke had Northwestern cross country runners and David’s parents showing up at his races to cheer him on!” said the Rowen family.
Nyfjäll has learned just as much from Rowen throughout their journey together.
“My friendship with Luke has not only taught me how to appreciate the small joys of life but empower me to perform better while playing for a greater cause,” Nyfjäll said. “Just as Luke’s joyous attitude has improved my golf game, Byron Nelson’s motivation to play for a larger purpose and use an athletic platform for good brings about a personal sense of freedom while competing.”
Mr. Nelson’s support of providing accessible mental health and therapeutic services to children and families through Momentous Institute inspires Nyfjäll along his path to becoming a professional golfer. He’s experienced the difficulty of mental health problems in his family and has invested in resources to raise awareness for mental health.
“Learning how Byron Nelson used his golf platform to support social-emotional health in schools resonates with my background, and it motivates me to hopefully someday have the opportunity to provide similar assistance through my golf,” he said. “I am going to use my platform and academic knowledge to engage in conversations about mental health and uplift innovative organizations, companies, and brands that also prioritize positive change in mental health advocacy.”
On the course, Nyfjäll has collected four First-Team All-Big Ten honors, the 2022 Big Ten Individual Championship, and the 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year award among other accolades.
“David has represented everything that is great about college golf as a student, athlete, and person,” said Northwestern head coach David Inglis. “He understands what it means to be a good person and how to use his time to help influence others positively. David has been a coach’s dream, the role model on our team in every way, and has set the gold standard for what it means to be a Northwestern golfer.”
About the Byron Nelson Award
The purpose of the Byron Nelson Award is to select annually the outstanding Division I, II, III, or NAIA scholar-athlete of the year. The recipient, a graduating senior, is recognized for his achievement in the classroom, on the course, and in his community. Past winners include William Knauth (Carnegie Mellon), McClure Meissner (SMU), John Murphy (Louisville), Ryan Lumsden (Northwestern), Matthew Perrine (Baylor), Maverick McNealy (Stanford), Stephen Behr (Clemson), Anders Albertson (Georgia Tech), Brandon Hagy (Cal), Brinson Paolini (Duke), Dylan Frittelli (Texas), Cyril Bouniol (Abilene Christian), Brendan Gielow (Wake Forest), James White (Georgia Tech), Mike Van Sickle (Marquette), Nathaniel James (Washington & Lee), Sam Korbe (Tulsa), Roberto Castro (Georgia Tech), Zack Robinson (Oklahoma State), Michael Putnam (Pepperdine), Billy Hurley (Navy), Troy Matteson (Georgia Tech), and Jason Allred (Pepperdine).