The only thing mildly surprising about the Golf Writers Association of America’s rewarding Rory McIlroy, Stacy Lewis, and Roger Chapman its Players of the Year trophies on Wednesday was that 2012 five-time global winner McIlroy was not a unanimous decision.
McIlroy, who captured the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours, carded 97.9 percent of the ballots (190 votes), with Brandt Snedeker (3) and Tiger Woods (1) keeping the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland from making it a clean sweep in the men’s division. Lewis won four times on the LPGA Tour this year and was the run-away winner in the women’s bracket, earning 78.8 percent (153 votes) to Na Yeon Choi’s 31 votes and 10 for Inbee Park. Chapman (60 percent / 116 votes) beat out Tom Lehman (44 votes) and Bernhard Langer (33) in the senior tabulations.
The GWAA will honor all three players at its 41st annual awards dinner on April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Ga., ahead of next year’s Masters Tournament.
As we noted on Tuesday, after McIlroy steamrolled his opposition for the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year distinction, the Ulsterman did much the same to his playing partners for much of the season, when he notched his second major by a lop-sided eight shots and took a firm grip on the world No. 1 ranking. McIlroy also won both the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Award and PGA of America’s Vardon Trophy for adjusted low scoring average (68.87) and finished the season with 10 top-10s in 16 starts. He birdied the final five holes of his season to cap an outstanding campaign with a win at the World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Lewis, with three runner-up finishes and a third-place slot on the LPGA money list ($1.87 million) was the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to cadge the tour's Player of the Year honors. The 27-year-old from Texas, who overcame scoliosis to make it big on the pro tour, also become the first American since Juli Inkster in 1999 to earn the GWAA’s PoY award.
Chapman, 53, began the year with conditional status on the Champions Tour but won the Senior PGA Championship in his first start of the 2012 season. The Englishman also came from four shots back to win the U.S. Senior Open.