Player of the Year: Luke Donald
Arriving on the golf scene in 2001, Luke Donald seemed poised for greatness but it wasn’t until 2011 that he finally put it all together, becoming the world’s number one player. As a founding member of what I call the Anti-Tiger Club, I could not be happier to see Donald rise to the top of the golf world. He kick-started the year with his biggest victory to date at the WGC Match Play; Two Euro tour victories followed, including the BMW PGA Championship, Europe’s most important championship, and a fourth title at the season-ending event of the 2011 PGA tour a couple of weeks ago. Donald will most likely become the first in history to lead both the PGA tour and Euro tour money lists.
As for style, the world number one must always look good and L-Don fits the bill. A refreshing change from years and years of terribly lame Tiger outfits, Luke always looks good in his RLX Ralph Lauren.
Game grade: A+
Style grade: A
Future of Golf Award: Rory McIlroy
In the course of a few months Rory McIlroy took golf fans on an emotional rollercoaster of Ron Burgundy proportions. From the colossal collapse on the back nine of Augusta—Who knew there were houses on No. 10—to lapping the field at the US Open two months later, the heir apparent to the world number one ranking had his official coming out party in 2011 with his first major at the US Open and another five top three finishes. The young Northern Irishmen looks poised to have an even bigger 2012.
Rory’s new Oakley contract should keep him in the forefront of golf fashion for many years. We were going to dock him a little bit for the blond highlights but decided not to. (Full disclosure: I might have had blonde highlights in my early 20s.)
Game grade: A+
Style grade: A-
People’s Choice Award: Rickie Fowler
“Little” Rickie Fowler is growing on us. The 2010 Rookie of the Year was often in the hunt this year, only to continually fade on Sunday. Just when we thought he would go into another offseason without a victory, he takes “Fowler Fever” on the road to South Korea and gets his first win on the OneAsia Tour, leaving Korean girls swooning all along the way.
Style-wise, “Slick Rick” has left quite the impression on the game in only two short years. Teenage girls want to be with him and teenage boys want to be him. Whether you like fluorescents or not, everyone is always interested to see what Rickie is going to wear, including Vogue. The magazine featured him in its September 2011 issue detailing his head-to-toe orange attire.
Game Grade: B+
Style Grade: A
She says: “I love Rickie’s all orange ensembles so I think he gets my top style grade and Rory is so damn cute with his tennis star gf Caroline Wozniacki who happens to have Polish immigrant parents. We here at GofS love Polish immigrants! But I digress…”
Tomorrow: Part 2 of the PGA Year in Review: Top Grades.
Photos: Getty Images