Altvater: Rory McIlroy’s most excellent yearWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Rory McIlroy ends 2012 as the No. 1 player on the PGA and European Tours. He has been ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) for 15 consecutive weeks and a total of 22 weeks for the year.
He added a second major championship title to his resume with his win at the PGA Championship held on Kiawah Island, S.C., in August.
He won €5,519,118 in official earnings on the European Tour as the winner of the Race to Dubai and added another $8,047,952 in prize money as the PGA Tour’s No. 1 player. Most of his European Tour winnings are duplicated with the PGA Tour in the co-sanctioned majors and World Golf Championships (WGC) events.
McIlroy won five tournaments worldwide in 2012. He started the year strong with a runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi and a fifth place in Dubai before heading to the states.
He beat Lee Westwood in the semifinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play but then lost in the finals to Hunter Mahan. The very next week he won the Honda Classic and moved to No. 1 in the OWGR for the first time. He added a third place finish at the WGC-Cadillac at Doral in his final event before the Masters.
He was never in contention at Augusta National and finished T-40. McIlroy followed up his disappointment at the Masters with a runner-up at the Wells Fargo in early May where he lost to Rickie Fowler in a playoff.
The wheels seemed to come off the train a bit as McIlroy missed the cut at the Players and the Memorial. He then hired his long-time coach Michael Bannon on a full-time basis and rebounded with a T-7 at Memphis.
He missed another cut at the U.S. Open at Olympic Country Club and only managed a T-60 at the Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
Things came together for McIlroy after the Open Championship in July and he finished T-5 in the WGC-Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club in Akron.
A T-24 at the Barclays, the first event in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, was followed by wins at the Deutsche Bank and the BMW Championships and he capped off his PGA Tour year with a T-10 at the Tour Championship.
McIlroy helped the European Ryder Cup Team overcome a four-point deficit to beat the USA Ryder Cup Team. He played in all five sessions and compiled a 3-2 overall record. He was the third man out for the Euros on Sunday and beat Keegan Bradley 2&1 to secure the point and draw to within one point of the Americans.
He then switched his focus to the European Tour. A runner-up at the BMW Masters and a third-place finish in the Barclays Singapore Open secured the European Tour’s money title. He then missed his fourth cut of the year at the UBS Hong Kong Open before finishing the year with his win at the DP World Golf Championship in Dubai on Nov. 25.
Five worldwide wins, a Wanamaker Trophy, a historic European Team Ryder Cup win, two FedEx Cup Playoff wins, money titles on both the European and the PGA Tours plus No. 1 in the world, make for a fairly impressive year.
Oh and don’t forget adding a gorgeous world-famous girlfriend to his entourage this year. He is in a globe-trotting relationship with the beautiful as well as talented young professional tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki.
For any mere mortal that was a pretty formidable year.
Am I forgetting anything? Just one other minor detail to add to Rory’s incredible year.
He will start 2013 with a brand new mega-deal with Nike. He will team with Tiger Woods as the marquee brands in the Nike stable and will be covered in Swoosh gear. Just Do It!
I think Christmas came a little early this year for the 23-year-old McIlroy.
Let’s see if he can follow up that outstanding performance next year.
I’m betting that he can.