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McIlroy deserved award - McDowell

Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell agrees with Lee Westwood's assessment that Rory McIlroy would have been a more worthy recipient than Rickie Fowler of the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award.

American Fowler totalled seven top-10s in 2010 while Northern Irishman McIlroy, who has confirmed he will return to the European Tour next season, finished tied for third at two majors - the Open and USPGA - and won the Quail Hollow Championship in May before helping Europe to Ryder Cup glory in October.

Westwood tweeted his surprise at the decision on Monday, accusing the PGA Tour of "protectionism", and McDowell reckons the world number one has a point, telling Radio Five Live: "You can't really compare Rickie Fowler's season to Rory's. Rory, what is he, 11th in the world now?"

He added: "He's one of the most talented players I've ever seen. To win Quail Hollow in the style he did, to be challenging in major championships at the young age of 21 years old, I certainly think he was deserving of Rookie of the Year.

"But, at the end of the day it's just a title - it's nothing. Rory McIlroy will go on, I believe he will become one of the best players in the world - if not the best player - and win major championships.

"I certainly agree with Lee that Rory was a lot more deserving than Rickie Fowler."

McDowell also paid tribute to Westwood for his achievement in being crowned the world's top player.

"He's had an incredible year," said the 31-year-old. "To do what he's done this year with the injury problems he's had and the amount of time he's had off, to come back and to be better than ever... he's the world number one golfer - enough said.

"He's been so impressive the last few years now, knocking on the door of major championships, winning tournaments all over the world. He's certainly deserving of world number one."

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