Luke Donald, despite missing a bid to capture one of golf’s four major championships, combined steady play and two victories – including a sterling final-round 64 in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic on Sunday, to capture both the 2011 PGA of America Player of the Year Award and the Vardon Trophy.
Donald becomes the second native of England to win the PGA of America Player of the Year award, joining Nick Faldo (1990); and he is the second Briton to capture the Vardon Trophy, first presented to “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper in 1937.
The PGA Player of the Year, first presented in 1948, and the Vardon Trophy, which originated in 1937, are The PGA of America’s premier season-ending awards for excellence by a PGA Tour professional.
Donald earned 60 total points, based upon 20 points for winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and last weekend’s victory, along with winning the season’s money title and dominating the season scoring average (68.86). Webb Simpson, who made a late-season surge with a pair of victories, finished runner-up in both the PGA Player of the Year and Vardon Trophy races with 56 points. Nick Watney was third with 48 points, followed by Steve Stricker with 42 and PGA Champion Keegan Bradley with 40.
In dominating the Vardon Trophy race, Donald registered 73 complete rounds to garner the award that is computed based upon adjusted season scoring average. Runner-up Simpson averaged 69.25 based upon 98 rounds, and Stricker was third with 69.36 after 70 rounds.
The PGA of America has honored the game’s best players with The PGA Player of the Year Award since 1948. The award is presented to the top touring professional based on a point system for tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring averages. Points are tabulated from Jan. 1, through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, which concluded Oct. 23.
The PGA Tour also recognizes its annual Player of the Year, with the winner determined by a vote of the membership. The voting period commences Oct. 23, after the conclusion of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. The Player of the Year, who receives the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, will be announced by the Tour in December. Additionally, the Tour recognizes a Rookie of the Year and in select years, a Comeback Player of the Year, with both of those awards also being determined by a vote among Tour members. Other season-ending honors to be announced by the PGA Tour include the Arnold Palmer Award for the leading money-winner and the Byron Nelson Award, presented to the player with the lowest adjusted scoring average (minimum of 50 official rounds).
Since 1937, the Vardon Trophy, named by The PGA of America in honor of famed British golfer Harry Vardon, is awarded annually to the touring professional with the lowest adjusted scoring average. It is based on a minimum of 60 rounds, with no incomplete rounds, in events co-sponsored or designated by the PGA Tour. The adjusted score is computed from the average score of the field at each event.
Since 1948, The PGA of America has honored the game's best players with The PGA Player of the Year Award. The award is currently presented to the top touring professional based on a point system for tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring averages. Points are tabulated from Jan. 1 through the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, ending Oct. 23. In addition, 50 bonus points are awarded to players with more than one major championship in the same year, and an additional 25 points for each additional major championship.
About The PGA of America
Celebrating its 95th year, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission of its founders: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in a multi-billion dollar golf industry.
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