Rory McIlroy gets Euro Tour award

Updated: December 22, 2012, 11:59 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy was named the European Tour golfer of the year on Tuesday.

McIlroy follows Luke Donald, who won the award in 2011. Like Donald, McIlroy won the Euro Tour's Race to Dubai money list and led the PGA Tour money list in the same season. Last week, McIlroy was named PGA Tour player of the year.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland captured his second major title in August, winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots. That matched his winning margin at the 2011 U.S. Open, his first major triumph.

McIlroy wound up with four wins, including the PGA Championship, and finished the year with the lowest adjusted scoring average. He played a vital role in Europe's stunning Ryder Cup victory at Medinah, and ended the year in style with five closing birdies to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

"Everyone who knows me knows how special the 2012 season was," McIlroy said. "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," he said.

"We play golf because we relish the opportunity to win major championships and world-class tournaments around the globe. But when we do that, to be recognized for these achievements is a great thrill and I thank all the members of the panel who voted for me."

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland became the youngest player to win PGA Tour player of the year since Tiger Woods at age 21 in 1997. He also was the third European to win in the past five years, joining Padraig Harrington of Ireland in 2008 and England's Donald last year.

After McIlroy's eight-shot win at Kiawah, he won the Deutsche Bank Championship in a duel with Louis Oosthuizen, then won the next playoff event in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick against a leaderboard that included Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson and Woods.

McIlroy's other win came earlier in the year, when he held off Woods to win the Honda Classic and go to No. 1 in the world for the first time. McIlroy went to No. 1 three more times during an inconsistent summer until he established himself as the best in golf at the PGA Championship.

He tied for fifth at Firestone the week before the final major to gain a little more confidence, though he said his expectations were lower than usual for a major, considering his summer doldrums. He turned a two-shot deficit into an eight-shot win with a 67-66 weekend at Kiawah.

McIlroy has never played at three of the four courses hosting majors in the rotation next year -- Merion (U.S. Open), Muirfield (Open Championship) or Oak Hill (PGA Championship).

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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