McIlroy lands PGA players' award
Golf:Rory McIlroy has been named as the PGA Tour Player of the Year, capping an outstanding season for the world number one. As expected, the 23-year-old was the popular choice for the annual Jack Nicklaus Award, decided by a vote from eligible tour players, becoming the youngest recipient since Tiger Woods in 1998.
McIlroy won four PGA Tour titles this year, including the PGA Championship by a record eight strokes. Nicklaus held the previous record margin for the last major on the golfing calendar, winning the 1980 PGA Championship by seven shots.
The Northern Irishman topped the money lists for the PGA and European Tours, and won the Honda Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship, plus the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average, making his selection a virtual formality on a final ballot that included Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Woods.
"It's always nice to get recognition from your peers, the guys that you're trying to beat week in, week out," McIlroy said on a conference call. "I guess it's just a great way to end what has been a great year and my best season so far."
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem added: "It's no surprise that Rory McIlroy was voted by the players and his peers as the best Player of the Year."
McIlroy gave some of the credit to his girlfriend, Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
“Seeing how hard she works and how hard she practises and how dedicated she is, it definitely flipped a switch with me that I could be a little more like that,” said the 23-year-old world number one. “She’s definitely been a great influence on me. I’ve always felt like I’ve been dedicated to the game and I’ve practised hard and I’ve worked at it. But I guess over the past 18 months, especially after winning the US Open, I sort of felt like I went to the next stage of my career.
"I feel like my personality away from the golf course hasn’t changed, but definitely when I get to the golf course I’m maybe a little more professional, a little more business-like. I guess that’s just the way you have to be to be successful and to try and win as many tournaments as you can.
“It’s definitely helped and obviously helped me to win more tournaments.”
John Huh won the rookie of the year award after becoming the youngest player in more than a decade to qualify for the Tour Championship.
Huh, 22, broke through for his first win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February, enduring an eight-hole playoff with Robert Allenby.
The youngest player before him to reach the end-of-season championship was Spain's Sergio Garcia, who was 21 in 2001.