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Rory McIlroy proud of third Euro Player of Year title

World No.3 Rory McIlroy's domination of the European Tour Golfer of the Year Award has continued with a third triumph in four seasons.

The Northern Irishman won three times this year, including the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last month to successfully defend his Race to Dubai crown - an honour he also claimed for a third time since 2012.

McIlroy became only the seventh player in European Tour history to be crowned European No.1 in consecutive campaigns.

"It is a huge honour for me to be named European Tour Golfer of the Year again," said McIlroy, who missed five weeks of the summer, and the chance to defend his Open title, with an ankle injury sustained playing football.

"I feel very proud to have won this prestigious award for the third time - it is always special, no matter how often, to be recognised this way.

"After a good first half to the season, the injury was obviously a setback for me, so to finish the year strongly with my second victory in Dubai - plus picking up The Race to Dubai title again - was very satisfying.

"This was an objective I successfully fulfilled. To now win the Golfer of the Year award, too, is a great way to sign off the year.

"I am already looking forward to starting the new season and trying to achieve even more in 2016."

McIlroy's two other European Tour victories came at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the WGC-Cadillac Match Play.

McIlroy's big rival Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, returned to Augusta National last week for the first time since his four-shot victory in the Masters. He saw his name on the permanent Masters trophy. He was treated like an honorary member. And he checked out the new Champions Locker Room.

Augusta National has champions share a locker, and the 22-year-old Texan was curious.

"I walked up to see who I was with," Spieth said.

"And I share a locker with Arnold Palmer. So it was a very special moment."

He might have recognised one other thing in that locker room - his 60-degree wedge that he used to win the Masters.

Meanwhile, Italian golf officials believe hosting the 2022 Ryder Cup can spark a revolution for the sport in the country more known for its love of football.

Rome's bid co-ordinator Marco Durante commented: "We are a country of 60 million people and we have only 100,000 golfers.

"There is massive potential to expand the game.

"Hosting the Ryder Cup will be a great push for our golf movement, and increase participation in our sport."

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