Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:38 pm

Luke's 2011 honors piling up like holiday gifts

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The hosannas and hardware keep piling up for Luke Donald, the No. 1 player in golf by means of world-ranking arithmetic, money lists and increasingly, a slew of voter tallies.

Two weeks after he was named the player of the year on both the PGA and European tours, he was named the top performer of 2011 by the Golf Writers Association of America, a press contingent that will honor Donald at its annual banquet at the Masters in April.

Donald, 34, became the first member to top the money lists on both major tours in the same season, a feat that obviously impressed both peers and aficionados alike. Voting totals again were not released by the PGA Tour, but in the GWAA tally, Donald won by an impressively wide margin.

Donald received 88 percent of the votes (180 votes in all), compared to nine percent (19) for two-time tour winner Keegan Bradley. Webb Simpson received three votes and U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy received two.

Donald, a Northwestern graduate, won four times worldwide in 2011, the most of any player, and supplanted No. 1 Lee Westwood atop the rankings by beating him in a playoff at the European Tour's flagship event at midseason. In another memorable duel that greatly impressed his American tour brethren, Donald reeled in and passed earnings leader Simpson at Disney World, the final event of the U.S. season, with a sterling 30 on his back nine.

While Donald's latest honor hardly rated as a surprise, the same goes double for the GWAA's top female player, Yani Tseng, who won 12 times worldwide in 2011, one of the most dominant seasons in women's history. As parity grips the men's game -- seven different players won twice on the PGA Tour in 2011, including Donald -- Tseng blew away her competitors and won two majors along the way.

The season was so dominant that it fast drew comparisons to past performances by Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and other retired stars.

Tseng received 95 percent of the vote for the GWAA's top female player to two percent for runner-up Stacy Lewis.

In the award for the top senior player, Tom Lehman claimed 86 percent of the tally (177 votes) to eight percent (16) for runner-up John Cook. Mark Calcavecchia (10 votes) was third.

Category: Golf
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