SINGAPORE – Rory McIIroy’s big year just got bigger.
After capturing his second major and finishing the year at No. 1, McIlroy had just one goal left — winning the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic.
His third-place finish at the Singapore Open on Sunday guarantees he’ll do just that.
The Northern Irishman now has $4.7 million in winnings on the European Tour, giving him an unassailable $1.33 million advantage over Swede Peter Hanson, currently in second place.
McIlroy had already wrapped up the PGA TOUR money title with more than $8 million and he becomes the second golfer in history to win both titles in the same season, matching Luke Donald f’seat from last year.
“It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European No. 1, especially after finishing second two of the last three years,” the 23-year-old McIlroy said.
“It has always been one of my goals to become No. 1 in Europe ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end the year as both European and PGA TOUR No. 1 is just amazing.”
McIlroy, who captured his second major at the PGA Championship in August, needed to come from behind on Sunday in Singapore to finish in third — and then wait for Louis Oosthuizen to lose the title in a playoff to Matteo Manassero. The South African could have still passed McIlroy if he had won Singapore and the Dubai World Championship.
McIlroy said his main focus will be to “keep trying to improve on any little thing” next year.
“It’s been nice that, year after year, my results have improved and I’d like to keep that going but if I feel like I’m a better golfer next year than I was this year, and so on, then that’s how I want to feel,” he said.
He’d certainly like to add to his number of majors, though. Asked to rank his three biggest achievements of 2012, McIlroy didn’t hesitate: “Major, No. 1, and then the money list.”
McIlroy was tops on the PGA Tour money list by almost $2 million over Tiger Woods who was in second, and Tiger was about $1.2 million clear of third place. McIlroy played only 16 PGA Tour events, three fewer than Woods. You’d have to go all the way to Lee Westwood, 23rd on the money list, to find someone who played less than McIlroy (Westwood played 15).
On the European Tour list, McIlroy played just 13 events to earn top honors in the Race to Dubai, so he was pretty darn efficient when it came to scooping up money.
So, yes, McIlroy, atop both money lists, among other things. This kid is incredible, and things just keep happening for him.
There were other money stories coming to a conclusion. With the final PGA Tour event finishing Sunday, the Children’s Mircle Network Hospitals Classic – won by Charlie Beljan – the final 125 players for next season have been established.
Also, here’s a look at the top three money leaders over the past 22 years. Notice the jump the money took after 1998 – the Tiger Influence.
Below are PGA TOUR money stats dating to 1990:
Year No. 1 Final Money List No. 30 Final Money List No. 125 Final Money List
2012 Rory McIlroy $8,047,952 Ben Curtis $2,494,153 Kevin Chappell $647,510
2011 Luke Donald $6,683,214 Kevin Na $2,336,965 D.J. Trahan $668,166
2010 Matt Kuchar $4,910,477 Heath Slocum $2,387,687 Troy Merritt $786,977
2009 Tiger Woods $10,508,163 Tim Clark $2,235,105 Jimmy Walker $662,683
2008 Vijay Singh $6,601,094 Hunter Mahan $2,208,855 Martin Laird $852,752
2007 Tiger Woods $10,867,052 Heath Slocum $2,184,379 Mathias Gronberg $785,180
2006 Tiger Woods $9,941,563 Ben Curtis $2,256,326 Darren Clarke $660,898
2005 Tiger Woods $10,628,024 Lucas Glover $2,050,068 Nick Price $626,736
2004 Vijay Singh $10,905,166 Kenny Perry $1,952,043 Tag Ridings $623,262
2003 Vijay Singh $7,573,907 K.J. Choi $1,999,663 Esteban Toledo $487,495
2002 Tiger Woods $6,912,625 Steve Lowery $1,882,553 Jay Williamson $515,445
2001 Tiger Woods $5,687,777 Steve Stricker $1,676,229 Woody Austin $406,352
2000 Tiger Woods $9,188,321 Carlos Franco $1,550,592 Bob Burns $391,075
1999 Tiger Woods $6,616,585 Loren Roberts $1,258,745 Charles Raulerson $326,893
1998 David Duval $2,591,031 Andrew Magee $964,302 Blaine McCallister $228,304
1997 Tiger Woods $2,066,833 Andrew Magee $752,007 Neal Lancaster $179,273
1996 Tom Lehman $1,780,159 Duffy Waldorf $604,382 Dicky Pride $167,852
1995 Greg Norman $1,654,959 Nick Price $611,700 John Wilson $149,280
1994 Nick Price $1,499,927 Mark Calcavecchia $533,201 Dennis Paulson $142,515
1993 Nick Price $1,478,557 Billy Mayfair $513,072 Ronnie Black $120,041
1992 Fred Couples $1,344,188 Steve Pate $472,626 Roger Maltbie $109,742
1991 Corey Pavin $979,430 Ian Woosnam $485,023 John Adams $117,549
1990 Greg Norman $1,165,477 John Huston $435,690 Bob Eastwood $123,908