Why was Rory McIlroy snubbed by US PGA colleagues?
Hell hath no fury like a Tour scorned?
That's certainly how it appears following the announcement early yesterday that Rickie Fowler had been voted ‘Rookie of the Year’ by his colleagues on America's PGA Tour.
No question, Fowler (21) had an impressive first full year on the US Tour. Fresh out of Q-School, he had two runner-up finishes this season, at the Phoenix Open and the Memorial; he was selected for the Ryder Cup and won the last four holes of his singles match with Edoardo Molinari for a thrilling half.
Yet Rory McIlroy, who is six months younger than Fowler, marked his debut season as a member of the PGA Tour with a sensational tournament victory at Quail Hollow.
He followed-up with third-place finishes at the British Open and the US PGA.
McIlroy also made his Ryder Cup debut, holding out for a vital half against Stewart Cink, making it possible for Graeme McDowell to clinch victory for Europe.
Fowler (22nd) finished four places ahead of McIlroy (26th) in the Money List.
Yet the American amassed his $2.86m in 28 events, while McIlroy won $2.55m in just 16 — meaning the Holywood man won an average $159,642 per tournament, considerably more than Fowler's $102,039.
According to the Tour's own statistics, McIlroy also had a better stroke average, 70.35 per round, compared to Fowler's70.43.
Statistically, it was pretty tight — but that win at Quail Hollow and McIlroy's showing in the final two Majors of the season were very compelling.
So why was McIlroy snubbed? Could it have something to do with his highly-publicised decision to give up PGA Tour membership in 2011 or his controversial assertion that the showpiece FedEx Cup series “is just about the money”? Nobody can say it's because McIlroy already had extensive experience on the European Tour ... the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award went to Vijay Singh in 1993 at age 30, and to Todd Hamilton in 2004 at age 38 after a long and successful career on the Japan Tour. No controversy whatsoever about the PGA Tour's Player of the Year, Jim Furyk, who went on from his victory at last year's Chevron to win the Transitions, the Verizon Heritage, the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
Meanwhile, World number one Lee Westwood eased his way to a first-ever Nedbank Golf Challenge victory at Sun City yesterday.
The Englishman carded a four-under-par 68 at the Gary Player Country Club to end with a tournament total of 271 and a winning margin of eight strokes over his closest challenger Tim Clark — the South African finishing with a 71. Padraig Harrington’s lacklustre 75 saw him finish in a tie for seventh place with defending champion Robert Allenby, 14 strokes behind Westwood.