by Jeff Skinner
As the PGA Tour season headed into the FedEx Cup Playoffs there was some debate as to who would win the Player of the Year. Tiger Woods had more wins than any other player with three and a quartet of players had earned two wins each. Rory McIlroy, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan all had managed to haul in a pair of wins but of all those victories only one was a major championship, Rory’s PGA Championship.
Brandt Snedeker was able to capture the FedEx Cup with his win at the Tour Championship for his second win on tour but in the two tournaments preceding the Tour Championship a hot McIlroy claimed both the Deutsche Bank Championship and The BMW to pump his win total to four and therefore shut the door on his competition for Player of the Year.
McIlroy has had a great season which saw him claim the top slot in the Official World Golf Rankings and become the face of world-wide golf. Tiger Woods may still be the biggest draw in golf but Rory isn’t far behind. And the difference between Rory and Tiger is that Rory is universally loved and cheered at every tournament. You can’t say that for Tiger any longer.
McIlroy’s 2012 resume is impressive. His four wins include the PGA, The Honda, The Duetsche Bank and the BMW. He’s had two second place finishes, one third and led the tour in top tens with ten. He claimed the money title with over eight million dollars (two million more than second place Woods) and finished second in FedEx Cup points.
His scoring stats are impressive and at the same time puzzling. He was first in scoring average, birdie average, par breakers, par five birdie leaders, ball striking, approaches from 200-225 yards and back nine scoring average.
Rory’s length is a distinct advantage and he was fifth in driving distance. We all have seen how long he can hit it with his 300 yard plus 3-woods but he only ranked 152nd in driving accuracy. And he was only 52nd in greens in regulation. Rory hits it a long way but not that straight and misses plenty of greens. So he just finds a way to get it in the hole and his second place All-Around Ranking reflects that.
Like many great players, Rory just knows how to score. It doesn’t matter if he is playing from the short grass or the ankle high rough McIlroy gets the ball in the hole and has evolved into one of the most entertaining golfers on any tour. Four wins, a PGA Championship and that great attitude that McIroy brings to the game earns Rory this season’s Player of the Year Award.