Since 1954, Golf Digest has honored the best players in the game. This time, choosing the World Golfer of the Year was easy. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy won the British Open and the PGA Championship, his third and fourth career majors. He also won two other tournaments and went 2-1-2 in Ryder Cup play, helping lead Europe to victory.
McIlroy, 25, is joined by a host of other young players on our list of honorees, some you might have heard of, others you soon will.
Mickey Wright Award / Most LPGA tour wins
Through November, Stacy Lewis, 29, had spent 92 consecutive weeks ranked among the top three in the world. Lewis won three more times in 2014, increasing her win total to 11 before turning 30.
- Rookie of the Year, PGA Tour*
Hadley, 27, was the only rookie to win in 2014 (he shot 21 under par at the Puerto Rico Open), and he had three other top 10s.
- Rookie of the Year, LPGA Tour*
Before turning pro at the end of 2013, Ko, 17, already had two LPGA wins. She added two more in her first pro season and had 11 top-10 finishes through October. She also rose to No. 3 in the world ranking.
- Most Improved, PGA Tour*
Kaymer won the Players Championship and the U.S. Open for his first victories in America since winning the 2010 PGA Championship. Kaymer, 29, also earned two points in the Ryder Cup to help Europe defeat the U.S.
- Most Improved, LPGA Tour*
Wie, 25, won her first LPGA title in almost four years in April (Lotte Championship). Two months later, she was a major champion, winning the U.S. Women's Open. She also had six other top-five finishes.
RORY MCILROY & JIMMY WALKER
- Byron Nelson Award / Most PGA Tour wins*
Walker, 35, won three events before the middle of February: the Frys.com Open, the Sony Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. McIlory, 25, won the WGC-Bridgestone in addition to his two major victories.
- Amateur Men*
The 22-year-old Canadian's signature win came in February at the Jones Cup. He also finished second at the U.S. Amateur and the North & South.
- Amateur Women*
Henderson, 17, twice made the cut in LPGA majors. The Canadian also won the South Atlantic Amateur, was runner-up at the U.S. Women's Amateur and placed third at the Canadian Women's Amateur.
- Amateur Boys*
Burns, 18, from Shreveport, La., didn't finish outside the top 10 in any junior event this past summer, and he won the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions and the Junior PGA. He will attend LSU in 2015.
- Amateur Girls*
Lee, 16, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., had two AJGA victories, including the Rolex Tournament of Champions. She will be attending Stanford in 2016.
- Amateur Senior Men*
A retired accountant from Vienna, Va., Tallent, 61, won the U.S. Senior Amateur for his first victory in 27 USGA championship events.
- Amateur Senior Women*
Higgins, 58, of Glendora, Calif., won the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur to become the third woman to win it and the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur. (She won the Mid-Am in 2008.)