While Donald didn't win a major tournament this year, he did win four tournaments, three of which were European Tour events. His win at the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship in May boosted him to the world No. 1 ranking.
He became the first player to win the money titles on both the European Tour, where he amassed nearly $7 million in just 13 events, and PGA Tour, where he claimed about $6.9 million over 19 tournaments.
He was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year on Tuesday.
"To have the accolade of European Tour Golfer of the Year means an awful lot to me and I will certainly look back on this year with a lot of fond memories," said Donald.
"It is always nice to be appreciated, especially from the people in the sport who know the game inside out. They have recognized what I have done this year and it is very gratifying to have that validation."