Golf Digest Awards
Golf Digest honors the best players in the game
December 19, 2010
Golf Digest honors the best players in the game
MATT KUCHAR / 32Most Improved Player, PGA TourMATT KUCHAR / 32The Florida native and Georgia Tech grad had one victory (The Barclays) and 10 other top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2010. He led the money list with $4.9 million, thanks to five top-3 finishes. He also led the tour in scoring average (69.61) and won two points for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. His previous best in earnings for a season was $2.4 million, and his most top 10s in one year had been five.
KRISTEN PARK / 18Girls' Junior AmateurKRISTEN PARK / 18The former U.S. Girls' Junior champion from Buena Park, Calif., won three American Junior Golf Association titles, including the Rolex Tournament of Champions. The high school senior won the Ping Invitational with a final-round 67 and was named AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year. She finished 2010 with a 72.72 scoring average.
PETER UIHLEIN / 21Men's AmateurPETER UIHLEIN / 21The Orlando resident and rising junior at Oklahoma State won the U.S. Amateur in August at Chambers Bay in Washington. He also won the Sahalee Players and shared second at the Porter Cup. He finished T-2 at the NCAA Championship after winning the Southeast Regional title, earning All-America honors.
MINA HARDIN / 50Senior Women's AmateurMINA HARDIN / 50The Fort Worth resident won the USGA Senior Women's Amateur in Fort Myers, Fla., in October by defeating Alexandra Frazier, 2 and 1, in the final. Hardin, a former LPGA Tour player who regained her amateur status in 1991, is the first female citizen of Mexico to win a USGA national championship.
JIM FURYK / 40Byron Nelson AwardJIM FURYK / 40Furyk edged Luke Donald by a shot at the Tour Championship to earn his first FedEx Cup title. Along with the victory came $11.35 million in prize money. The win was his third of the PGA Tour season, earning him our Byron Nelson Award for most tour wins in 2010. He also won the Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., in March (by one stroke over K.J. Choi) and the Verizon Heritage on Hilton Head Island in April (in a playoff over Brian Davis). In 16 previous seasons, Furyk had never won more than twice in a single year.
RORY MCILROY / 21__ PGA Tour Rookie of the Year__RORY MCILROY / 21He lived up to the hype of his much-anticipated debut as a full-time member of the PGA Tour by winning the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., (he shot 62 in the final round) and tying for third in the British Open (he shot 63 in the opening round). He also had three other top-10 finishes in the U.S. and then helped the European Ryder Cup team to victory, winning two points. McIlory, who's from Northern Ireland, said in November he would not play the PGA Tour full-time in 2011, instead opting for the European tour.
ANTHONY PAOLUCCI / 18Boys' Junior AmateurANTHONY PAOLUCCI / 18Two AJGA victories (Thunderbird and Rolex Tournament of Champions) and a runner-up in a third "major" (FootJoy Invitational) completed a great year for the high school senior from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He also was a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Junior and runner-up at the Junior PGA.
CYDNEY CLANTON / 21Women's AmateurCYDNEY CLANTON / 21The Auburn undergrad from Rockwell, N.C., took the Women's North & South title. She also was a member of the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team, with a 2-0-1 record, and the U.S. World Amateur Team, which finished second. The All-American was T-3 at the NCAA Championship and T-7 at Harder Hall.
PAUL SIMSON / 59Senior Men's AmateurPAUL SIMSON / 59The Raleigh, N.C., resident's victory in the USGA Senior Amateur Championship capped an incredible 2010 in which he became the first to win the Senior Amateur, the British Seniors Open Amateur Championship and Canadian Men's Senior in the same year. He won four of the five major events he entered.
NA YEON CHOI / 23Most Improved Player, LPGA TourNA YEON CHOI / 23In her third full season, the South Korean-born golfer led the LPGA Tour in earnings with nearly $1.8 million in 22 events. The highlights of her season were victories at the LPGA Hana Bank Championship in her native country and the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Sylvania, Ohio. She also finished tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open and tied for third at the Ricoh Women's British Open. Choi had 14 top-10 finishes and led the tour in five major statistical categories. Two of note were her 69.77 scoring average and total birdies (321).
AZAHARA MUNOZ / 23LPGA Tour Rookie of the YearAZAHARA MUNOZ / 23The Spaniard had three top-10 finishes, including a fourth in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. She also finished in the top 20 in all three of the majors she played and missed the cut in only three of the 20 events. Her stroke average of 71.18 was 16th best on tour. Munoz's season was a fitting follow-up to her amateur career, which included wins at the 2009 Ladies' British Amateur and the 2008 NCAA Championship while she attended Arizona State. As a professional, she also won the 2009 Madrid Ladies Masters.
AI MIYAZATO / 25Mickey Wright AwardAI MIYAZATO / 25The Japanese-born Miyazato was our Most Improved LPGA Tour Player in 2009. She followed that up by winning the Mickey Wright Award for the most tour wins in 2010 with five. She began the season by winning three of the first five tournaments she entered, including the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand and the HSBC Women's Championship. She also won the ShopRite LPGA Classic, the Tres Marias Championship and the Safeway Classic. Miyazato had eight top-10 finishes and led the tour in putting average per green in regulation (1.74 strokes).