rory McIlroy has been named the PGA of America’s Player of the Year and winner of its
Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average of the season.
Northern Ireland’s world No 1 won four times in the States during a 2012 in which he emulated Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald’s feat last year of topping the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic.
Tiger Woods was runner-up for Player of the Year, but ineligible for the Vardon Trophy because of his injury withdrawal during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami in March. But for that, he would have finished with an average of 68.9 to McIlroy’s 68.87, but second place instead went to Jim Furyk on 69.3. The PGA Tour has its own Player of the Year award, members having until November 30 to vote, and McIlroy is expected to be a runaway winner of that. He is vying with Woods, Jason Dufner, FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker and Bubba Watson, the quintet having been 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.
McIlroy heads the field for this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, an event he won last season after finishing runner-up in 2008 and 2009.
Twelve months ago, the 23-year-old closed out victory by two shots from Frenchman Grégory Havret by holing his bunker shot on the final green.
“Ever since I first played in 2007, the Hong Kong Open was a tournament I’ve always wanted to win, so to get my name on that trophy last year was a very special moment for me,” he said.
McIlroy is being joined at Fanling by six fellow major champions – Michael Campbell, John Daly, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, José María Olazábal and Y E Yang.