McIlroy claims top American honour
World number one Rory McIlroy added further accolades to his already bulging resume when he was named winner of the PGA of America Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who clinched his second major title with a record eight-shot victory at the PGA Championship in August, was always likely to land both honours after triumphing a season-high four times on the 2012 PGA Tour.
McIlroy followed in the footsteps of his Ryder Cup team mate Luke Donald when he became the second player to win the money list titles in both Europe and the United States.
He is also a heavy favourite to become the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year, which is voted upon by tour members and scheduled to be announced early next month.
McIlroy comfortably held off the challenge of Americans Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar to claim PGA of America Player of the Year honours today.
He finished with 100 points while Woods ended up with 66, Masters champion Watson and Dufner each totalled 50, Snedeker earned 36 and Kuchar 34.
McIlroy won the Vardon Trophy, first presented in 1937, with an adjusted scoring average of 68.87. Jim Furyk was second on 69.30 and Dufner third (69.45).
McIlroy, who secured the European Tour Race to Dubai title by finishing third at the Singapore Open, is vying with Woods, Dufner, FedExCup champion Snedeker and Watson for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award.
Those five players were named on Monday as the final nominees for the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Award.
The nominees for Rookie of the Year were Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr.
When all is said and done, though, McIlroy will overshadow everyone else after his stellar 2012 campaign.
The richly talented Northern Irishman has made a habit of beating the game’s best in style when given the chance and he claimed PGA Tour victories this season at the Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship.
McIlroy clinched the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA Tour’s leading money winner, with earnings of US$8,047,952, (NZ$9.7m) and was delighted to follow that up with the European Tour order of merit on Sunday with two events remaining.
‘‘Winning a second major already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke in becoming number one in both Europe and the States is the icing on the cake after a fabulous season,’’ the 23-year-old said.