There was limited suspense Tuesday afternoon as the PGA Tour announced the winners of the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards, as voted on by the Tour’s membership for the 2011 season. Luke Donald captured the Player of the Year honours while PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley was affirmed as the Rookie of the Year.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, my congratulations to Luke and Keegan for their award-winning accomplishments in 2011,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “Both players had significant and impressive performances throughout the course of the year, and the member vote reflects the respect their peers have for them.”
Luke Donald – PGA TOUR Player of the Year
Donald, who turned 34 on Dec. 7, is the first player from England to be voted Player of the Year since the award’s inception in 1990.
Donald won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in 2011. He never trailed in any of his six matches at the Accenture Match Play Championship, including a 3&2 finals victory over Martin Kaymer. Donald’s win in his final start of the year at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic clinched the money title with $6,683,214, earning him the Arnold Palmer Award. He also wrapped up the Byron Nelson Trophy and Vardon Award for lowest adjusted scoring average (68.86).
Currently No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Donald led the PGA TOUR with 14 top-10 finishes in 19 starts with runner-up finishes the RBC Heritage (playoff) and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (T2). For the second consecutive year, Donald finished third in the season-long FedExCup competition, posting top-five finishes in three of the four PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup events.
Donald, who will receive the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as Player of the Year, was selected over Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Nick Watney.
Keegan Bradley – PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year
Bradley, 25, earned playoff victories at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship, becoming the first rookie since Todd Hamilton (2004) to win twice. With his PGA Championship playoff victory over Jason Dufner at Atlanta Athletic Club, Bradley became the first player since Ben Curtis (2003) to win a major championship in his first major start.
On the season, the Vermont native totaled four top 10s in 29 starts and finished 20th on the final FedExCup points list. Bradley became just the fourth rookie to play his way into Playoff finale, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, since the inception of the FedExCup, joining Brandt Snedeker (2007), Andres Romero (2008) and Marc Leishman (2009).
Other players nominated for PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year were Chris Kirk, Charl Schwartzel, Scott Stallings, Brendan Steele and Jhonattan Vegas.