Thanks to four PGA Tour victories and 10 top-10 finishes, Rory McIlroy won the tour’s 2012 Player of the Year honors on Tuesday.
The two-time major champ from Northern Ireland, who recently picked up the same award from the PGA of America, captured his second career major in August at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, S.C. He also chalked up the money ($8,047,952) and adjusted scoring average titles (68.87), and secured his position atop the Official World Golf Rankings.
The tour also tabbed John Huh as Rookie the Year. Huh was the first player of Korean descent to win the award.
McIlroy, at 23, is the youngest player since Tiger Woods in 1998 to win the PoY honor. Other nominees for this year's award included Woods, two-time winners Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker, and Masters champion Bubba Watson.
“It’s an honor and I’m delighted to win the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year,” McIlroy said during a teleconference. “It’s always nice to get recognition from our peers, the guys you’re trying to beat week in, week out.”
Eligible tour players vote on the awards. Candidates must have played in at least 15 official money events.
“In addition to Rory’s accomplishments inside the ropes, he has been a significant contributor to what the PGA Tour is all about outside the ropes," tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "He has handled himself in terrific fashion, he has been very direct with the media and entertaining to the fans, inside and outside the ropes. He is, at a very young age, already making a very solid contribution to what is the most important asset of the PGA Tour, and that is the image of its players.”
McIlroy was the clear leader in the clubhouse, despite a strong season from Woods. The 36-year-old Woods, healthy for the first time in years, entered 19 events and vaulted ahead of Jack Nicklaus into second place behind Sam Snead for most career wins, with 74.
It was not enough to overcome McIlroy’s performance.
“There’s been a lot of guys ... that have had great years,” McIlroy said. “Tiger winning three times and Bubba winning the Masters ... Jason Dufner breaking through for a couple of wins, Brandt Snedeker winning the FedEx Cup. So to beat those guys ... is a nice feeling, it’s very rewarding and just a great way to end what has been a great year and my best season so far.”
The young Northern Irishman also thanked his girlfriend, tennis star Carolina Wozniacki, for helping him get down to business this year.
“Seeing how hard she works and how hard she practices and how dedicated she is, it definitely flipped a switch with me that I could be a little more dedicated,” McIlroy said. “She’s definitely been a great influence on me.”