Rory McIlroy was named the U.S. PGA Tour’s Player of the Year after a season in which he captured his second career major championship among four victories.
McIlroy, a 23-year-old from Northern Ireland, is the third European-born player to win the honor in the past five years, following England’s Luke Donald in 2011 and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington in 2008. He’s the youngest winner since Tiger Woods won in 1998, at age 22.
The No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, McIlroy captured the PGA Championship in August by a record eight strokes for his second victory in one of golf’s four major tournaments. He took the U.S. Open in 2011.
John Huh, winner of the Mayakoba Classic and the only first-year player to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, was named Rookie of the Year. Huh led rookies with $2.7 million to rank 28th on the money list. He’s the first player of Korean descent to win the award.
His selection snaps a streak of three straight years when the award went to a golfer without a victory in one of the sport’s major tournaments. Donald earned the award last year without a major, following Jim Furyk and Woods, who were also selected without a win in the Masters Tournament, U.S Open, British Open or PGA.
The Player of the Year award, named after 18-time major tournament winner Jack Nicklaus, is intended to focus on the golfer who does best on the U.S. Tour, with voting limited to members of the circuit. McIlroy completed his first season as a full-time U.S. Tour member this year after splitting time in Europe and the U.S. over the previous five years.
Ballots for the award went out to PGA Tour players the first week of November. Vote totals weren’t disclosed in a statement released today by the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida-based Tour, the world’s richest golf circuit.
McIlroy, who also won consecutive FedEx Cup playoff events at the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship, finished as runner-up to Snedeker in the season-long FedEx Cup points competition. He led all players with $8.1 million in earnings and won the Vardon Trophy with the lowest scoring average of 68.87.
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