HOUSTON -- Rory McIlroy, Stacy Lewis and Roger Chapman have been named 2012 Players of the Year by the Golf Writers Association of America.
In addition, the Association of Golf Writers in Europe has named McIlroy as the European Tour Golfer of the Year.
This is the first GWAA Player of the Year award for McIlroy, Lewis and Chapman. They will be honored at the GWAA’s 41st Annual Awards Dinner April 10, 2013 in Augusta, Ga. McIlroy received his European honor this week in England.
All three GWAA honorees were landslide winners the balloting. McIlroy earned 97.9 percent of the votes (190 votes), while Brandt Snedeker (3) and Tiger Woods (1) combined for the other 2.1 percent. Lewis received 78.8 percent of the vote for Female Player of the Year (153) to 16 percent for Na Yeon Choi (31) and five percent for Inbee Park (10). In the Senior balloting, Chapman pulled 60 percent of the vote (116) to 22.6 percent for Tom Lehman (44) and 17 percent for Bernhard Langer (33).
McIlroy won five times in 2012, including a tournament-record eight-shot win at the PGA Championship, and won the money titles on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. The Northern Irishman also won both the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Award and PGA of America’s Vardon Trophy for adjusted low scoring average (68.87) and finished the season with 10 top-10s in 16 starts. The world No. 1 birdied the final five holes to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to close out the season.
This is the third year in a row -- and fourth time in five years -- that the GWAA award has gone to a European-born player.
Lewis won four times on the LPGA Tour to become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the Rolex Player of the Year award and the first American to win the GWAA’s Player of the Year award since Juli Inkster in 1999. She also had three runner-up finishes, including a share of second at the Wegman’s LPGA Championship, and finished third on the LPGA money list ($1.87 million). Lewis, who grew up in The Woodlands, Texas, had a steel rod and five screws in her back 10 years ago to correct scoliosis.
Chapman started the year with conditional status on the Champions Tour, but the Englishman won the Senior PGA Championship in his first 2012 start. Seven weeks later, he came from four shots back to win the U.S. Senior Open by two shots over Bernhard Langer, 2012 Champions Tour Player of the Year Tom Lehman, Fred Funk and Corey Pavin. He is the fourth player to win the Senior PGA and Senior Open in the same year and the first player since Mike Reid (2009) whose first two Champions wins were majors. Chapman played in just 12 tournaments and finished fourth on the Charles Schwab Cup standings and 13th on the Champions money list.
“Everyone who knows me knows how special the 2012 season was,” said McIlroy. “A couple of wins, including a major, and consistent performances in big events all helped me win The Race to Dubai for the first time. To win that was a massive highlight of an amazing season, and I hope it will be the first of many. Now, to have been named as the European Tour Golfer of the Year puts the icing on the cake.
“It is a very special honour indeed and you only need to look down the list of players who have preceded me as the winner of this award to see precisely why – quite simply, it is a Who’s Who of golf and I’m delighted to now be a part of that in the history books.
McIlroy is no stranger to the record books and this latest honor saw him add another to the annals as he became the youngest player to win the European Golfer of the Year since the award’s inauguration in 1985.