Rory McIlroy celebrates his closing birdie to win the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Photo Anthony Powter/www.golffile.ieRory McIlroy, Stacy Lewis and Roger Chapman have been named 2012 Players of the Year by the Golf Writers Association of America.

They are the first GWAA Player of the Year awards for all three players who will be honoured at the GWAA’s 41st Annual Awards Dinner during Masters week in Augusta, Georgia, on 10 April next year.

All three players were clear winners in the GWAA balloting with McIlroy earning a whopping 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 got 60 percent of the vote (116) to 22.6 percent for Tom Lehman (44) and 17 percent for Bernhard Langer (33).

McIlroy won fives times in 2012, including a tournament-record eight-shot win at the US PGA Championship, and won the money titles on both the PGA Tour and European Tours.

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 following wins for Padraig Harrington (2008), Graeme McDowell (2010) and Luke Donald (2011).

McIlroy also won the Golf Writers Trophy from the Association of Golf Writers (AGW) and both the PGA and European Tour Player of the Year awards.

Lewis won four times to become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the Rolex Player of the Year points list and the first American to win the GWAA’s POY 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 from 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 Tour wins were majors. Chapman played in just 12 tournaments and finished fourth on the Charles Schwab Cup standings and 13th on the Champions Tour money list.

The GWAA, founded in 1946, takes an active role in protecting the interests of all golf journalists, works closely with all of golf’s major governing bodies and the World Golf Hall of Fame.