McIlroy voted US PGA Tour player of the year

Rory McIlroy has been voted U.S. PGA Tour player of the year

after winning four times.

McIlroy sure didn’t feel like a player of the year when he

arrived at Kiawah Island for the final major of the year. He had

missed three cuts, had not contended in a major and had only one


The last two months changed everything.

While the tour does not disclose the vote of its players,

Tuesday’s announcement was the equivalent of a tap-in. McIlroy

wound up with four wins, including his eight-shot victory in the

PGA Championship, and made a clean sweep of the biggest awards by

winning the money title and having the lowest adjusted scoring


”It’s just a great way to end what has been a great year, my

best season so far,” McIlroy said.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland became the youngest player

to win PGA Tour player of the year since Tiger Woods at age 21 in

1997. He also was the third European to win in the last five years,

joining Padraig Harrington of Ireland in 2008 and England’s Luke

Donald last year.

Also on the ballot for player of the year were Tiger Woods with

three wins, Jason Dufner and his two wins in the spring, Masters

champion Bubba Watson and Brandt Snedeker, whose second win this

year at the Tour Championship allowed him to capture the FedEx


None compared with McIlroy, who pulled away from every over the

final two months of the season.

After his eight-shot win at Kiawah, he won the Deutsche Bank

Championship after a duel with Louis Oosthuizen, and then won the

next playoff event in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick against

a leaderboard that included Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Adam

Scott, Dustin Johnson and Woods.

McIlroy’s other win came earlier in the year, when he held off

Woods to win the Honda Classic and go to No. 1 in the world for the

first time. McIlroy went to No. 1 three more times during an

inconsistent summer until he established himself as the best in

golf at the PGA Championship.

”I think everyone knows that my game wasn’t where I wanted it

to be through the start of the summer and leading up to the PGA,”

McIlroy said on a conference call.

He tied for fifth at Firestone the week before the final major

to gain a little more confidence, though he said his expectations

were lower than usual for a major considering his summer doldrums.

He turned a two-shot deficit into an eight-shot win with a 67-66

weekend at Kiawah, and off he went.

”I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass me because it was a

great opportunity to win my second major,” McIlroy said. ”And

from that I gained a lot of confidence, knowing that I could win my

second major. And I went on from there.”

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who introduced McIlroy, was

as impressed with his behavior off the course as his skill level

inside the ropes.

”He has handled himself in terrific fashion,” Finchem said.

”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. For that, I thank him.”

The one question McIlroy has fielded since closing out his year

with a win in Dubai – giving him money titles on the PGA Tour and

European Tour – is what he will do for an encore. He is about to

change equipment from Titleist to Nike. McIlroy starts his season

Jan. 17 in Abu Dhabi against a strong field.

”What would be a success next season compared to this one? I

guess it’s just trying to become a better golfer, maybe add more

variety to my game,” he said. ”But you know, we’re judged on

wins, ultimately. … I won my first major in `11, I backed it up

this season with another one, and I’d love to go into `13 with that

same goal of trying to win another major.

”I think really what was disappointing this year for me – if

there was a disappointment – that I was only in contention once in

the majors, and luckily I was able to win it,” he said. ”But next

year I’d love to be in contention in all four of them.”

McIlroy has never played at three of the four majors in the

rotation next year – Merion, Muirfield or Oak Hill.

John Huh, who earned his card through Q-school, was voted PGA

Tour rookie of the year in another race that was easy to predict.

Huh won an opposite-field event in Mexico, but perhaps his greater

achievement was becoming the only rookie to make it to the Tour

Championship, a measure of good play all year. That gets Huh into

the Masters next year for the first time.