McIlroy wins Player of the Year; Huh top rookie

By Ryan LavnerDecember 4, 2012, 3:02 pm

Rory McIlroy, 23, on Tuesday became the youngest player in 15 years to be named the PGA Tour Player of the Year.

The Northern Irishman won four times in 2012, including the PGA Championship, and also earned the Arnold Palmer Award (leading money winner, with $8.04 million) and Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average (68.87).

The other nominees for Player of the Year were Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods, though the Tour does not release vote totals.

Photo gallery: McIlroy through the years

“It’s always nice to get recognition from your peers, the guys you’re trying to beat week-in and week-out,” McIlroy said in a teleconference with reporters. “It’s a nice feeling, very rewarding. And it’s just a great way to end what has been a great year and my best season so far.”

John Huh, 22, was named the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year after an impressive freshman campaign in which he won the Mayakoba Classic, finished 28th on the money list and became the only rookie to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship. He became the first player of Korean descent to be voted Rookie of the Year.

Huh was selected over Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley and Ted Potter Jr.

McIlroy won The Honda Classic in March to take over the top spot in the Official World Ranking for the first time. (He has since been ranked No. 1 for a total of 24 weeks, including 17 consecutive.) After an eight-stroke victory at the PGA Championship, he also captured back-to-back titles at the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship before finishing second in the yearlong FedEx Cup. He also joined Luke Donald as the only players to win the money title on both the PGA and European tours in the same season.

Said Tour commissioner Tim Finchem: “He has been a significant contributor to what the PGA Tour is all about outside the ropes. He has handled himself in terrific fashion. He has been very direct with the media and entertaining to the fans inside and outside the ropes. He is at a very young age already making a very solid contribution to what is the most important asset of the PGA Tour, and that is the image of its players.” 

McIlroy is the third European to win the Jack Nicklaus Award, following Donald (2011) and Padraig Harrington (2008), while becoming the youngest to be named Player of the Year since Woods in 1997.

What can he do for an encore in 2013?

“It’s just trying to become a better golfer and player, add more variety to my game, add a few more shots here and there,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I can improve in all aspects of my game. If my focus is on that then the tournament wins and success will come.

“We’re judged on wins ultimately, and this year has been a great year.”

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: