PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Rory McIlroy, whose record-setting PGA Championship was the highlight of a four-victory year, cruised to his first PGA of America Player of the Year Award and the Vardon Trophy, The PGA of America’s premier season-ending awards for excellence by a Tour professional.
McIlroy, 23, became the fourth youngest PGA Champion on Aug. 12 with a record eight-stroke triumph at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C. He went on to capture both the season money earnings and adjusted scoring average titles. He finished with 100 points, while Tiger Woods – a three-time winner this season – finished runner-up with 66 points. Woods is the all-time leader in both season-ending awards, having captured 10 PGA Player of the Year awards and eight Vardon Trophies since 1997.
McIlroy joined PGA of America leadership and staff members at their headquarters on Monday to accept both the 2012 Vardon Trophy and the PGA Player of the Year Award. The 23-year-old world No. 1 also fielded questions about his success in 2012 as well, giving a glimpse of his life off the golf course.
"It was a huge honor to win both of these awards in 2012 and it really showed what a great year I had," said McIlroy. "Hopefully I'm able to replicate that a few more times in my career."
McIlroy, who was also a member of the 2012 European Ryder Cup Team and helped lead them to a stunning comeback victory at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, talked about the passion he has for this team format competition.
"The Ryder Cup is a truly great event, and so special that you get to compete in it as a team, not just as an individual," said McIlroy.
"I am looking forward to the Ryder Cup in 2014, especially after last year and Europe coming back to win the way they did," he added. "I think it'll add that little extra to the next Ryder Cup, especially with Tom Watson coming back and being the U.S. Captain."
The PGA Player of the Year was first presented in 1948, and the Vardon Trophy originated in 1937.
McIlroy earned 60 victory points for his victories in the Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship, and gained 20 points for the money earnings title and 20 more for adjusted scoring with a 68.87 average based upon the award minimum required 60 rounds. Woods earned 30 points for victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial Tournament and the AT&T National, and 18 points each for the season money list and season scoring average.
However, Woods was ineligible for the Vardon Trophy after withdrawing in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 11. The incomplete round resulted in a .10 penalty to his adjusted scoring average (from 68.90 to 69.00).
Jason Dufner and Masters Champion Bubba Watson tied for third with 50 overall points, followed by TOUR Champion Brandt Snedeker with 36, and Matt Kuchar with 34.
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 Nov. 11.
The PGA Tour also recognizes its annual Player of the Year. The voting period commenced today and ends on November 30th. 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. Both of the Tour awards are 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.