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McIlroy voted youngest ever European Tour Golfer of the Year

World No 1 Rory McIlroy is the Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year for 2012 Rory McIlroy has been voted the 2012 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year - the youngest since the award’s inauguration in 1985.

    • 1985 Bernhard Langer
    • 1986 Seve Ballesteros
    • 1987 Ian Woosnam
    • 1988 Seve Ballesteros
    • 1989 Nick Faldo
    • 1990 Nick Faldo
    • 1991 Seve Ballesteros
    • 1992 Nick Faldo
    • 1993 Bernhard Langer
    • 1994 Ernie Els
    • 1995 Colin Montgomerie
    • 1996 Colin Montgomerie
    • 1997 Colin Montgomerie
    • 1998 Lee Westwood
    • 1999 Colin Montgomerie
    • 2000 Lee Westwood
    • 2001 Retief Goosen
    • 2002 Ernie Els
    • 2003 Ernie Els
    • 2004 Vijay Singh
    • 2005 Michael Campbell
    • 2006 Paul Casey
    • 2007 Pádraig Harrington
    • 2008 Pádraig Harrington
    • 2009 Lee Westwood
    • 2010 Martin Kaymer & Graeme McDowell (shared)
    • 2011 Luke Donald

The 23 year old world No 1 succeeds Luke Donald, having also replicated the Englishman’s previously unprecedented achievement of winning both The Race to Dubai and the US PGA Tour Money List in the same season.

In August, McIlroy captured his second Major Championship, claiming the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by eight strokes and in doing so set a new record for the largest winning margin in the Championship, beating the seven stroke triumph of Jack Nicklaus at Oak Hill in 1980. It also matched the winning margin he achieved during his maiden Major triumph in the 2011 US Open Championship at Congressional.

He also won three times on the US PGA Tour – in The Honda Classic, the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship – and played a vital role in Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup winning team, before ending a magnificent personal year by winning The European Tour’s season finalé, The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, in style, birdieing the final five holes on the Earth course to triumph by two strokes.

That fifth title worldwide in 2012 also meant McIlroy finished The European Tour season with record earnings of €5,519,118, beating the previous mark of €5,323,400 set by Donald last year, as he became the youngest player to win the Harry Vardon Trophy since Scotland’s Sandy Lyle in 1980 and the fourth youngest in total behind Seve Ballesteros, Dale Hayes and Lyle.

McIlroy can now add The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year award to his list of accomplishments in 2012, which includes winning the Golf Writers’ Trophy on this side of the Atlantic as well as the PGA Tour Player of the Year honours in the United States.

The judging panel, which featured golf journalists from newspapers and magazines as well as commentators from radio and television, also reserved praise for several other worthy candidates, specifically Englishman Ian Poulter, who won four points out of four in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory as well as claiming his second World Golf Championship title in China in November, and South African Branden Grace, who won four times on The European Tour in 2012 after securing his card at Qualifying School the previous November.

But McIlroy, who was announced as the winner at the annual Golfer of the Year Luncheon at the Lancaster Hotel in London, received the unanimous vote from the panel to become only the second Northern Irishman, following his friend Graeme McDowell (who shared the award with Germany’s Martin Kaymer in 2010), to receive the accolade.

“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.

“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 recognised for these achievements is a great thrill and I thank all the members of the panel who voted for me.”