McIlroy the PGA's Player of the Year


HONG KONG OPEN: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.

The world number one 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.

McIlroy, meanwhile, will tee it up alongside Singapore Open winner Matteo Manassero and China’s Wen-Chong Liang when the Hong Kong Open gets under way in the early hours of tomorrow morning. The defending champion, who has already won the Race to Dubai with two tournaments remaining, will be making his sixth consecutive appearance in the event, having previously recorded top-five finishes in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“Hong Kong is always a place I have enjoyed coming to. I first came here in 2006 when I played in the Faldo Junior series and my first Hong Kong Open was in 2007. I’m happy to say I have a good record, having come close to winning it twice before being lucky enough to win last year,” said McIlroy yesterday.

“It’s nice not having to worry about the Race to Dubai title knowing that I’ve already wrapped it up,” added McIlroy. “Matteo did me a big favour on Sunday winning the play-off in Singapore so I owe him for that. So, to be able to come here and really only have to play half decent is a nice feeling, but then I want to end the year with another victory.

“It’s very nice to win the money list title on both main tours and while it’s been nice to emulate what Luke Donald did last year and nice to be able to pick up all these end-of-year awards, I just want to keep improving. . .”

Hong Kong Open The lowdown

Venue: Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling, Hong Kong

Par: 70

Length: 6734 yards

Field: 144

First played: 1959

Holder: Rory McIlroy

Most wins: Four - Hsieh Yung Yo 1963, 19 64, 1975, 1977

Lowest 18-hole score: Ian Poulter 60 (-10) 2010

Prize money: €1.57 million

First prize: €263,000

TV: Sky Sports (Thurs-Sun)

Layout: Course management crucial, though not long, accuracy and a tidy short game essential.

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