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Dec. 4, 2012 at 5:25 PM
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McIlroy selected PGA Tour player of year

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Rory McIlroy, the leading money winner of 2012 and a four-time PGA winner this year, was selected the PGA Tour Player of the Year, the tour said Tuesday.

At 23, McIlroy is the youngest Player of the Year honorees since Tiger Woods won in 1998 just before his 23rd birthday.

McIlroy this year won the PGA Championship and, within six days, the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship in early September. He also won the Honda Classic in March. His 10 Top 10 finishes, tied for most this year, in just 16 tournaments.

He took home the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA Tour's leading money winner, earning more than $8 million. He claimed the Byron Nelson Award and Vardon Trophy, honors given for low scoring average.

He also took the money title on the European Tour and ends 2012 as the world's top-ranked golfer.

The Jack Nicklaus Award, as the player of the year honor is named, is decided on a vote of PGA Tour members. The PGA didn't provide a vote margin but said McIlroy was selected over Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Woods.

The tour also said John Huh was voted Rookie of the Year. Huh survived a en eight-hole playoff in winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February and had four Top 10 finishes in 28 starts.

Cedric Griffin suspended by NFL

ASHBURN, Va., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Washington Redskins cornerback Cedric Griffin has been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating performance-enhancing substances rules.

Griffin, who signed a one-year contract with Washington, has appeared in nine games for the Redskins this season, starting twice. He's usually used as a third cornerback in special pass defense situations.

The NFL said Griffin, no relation to Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, would be eligible to return to the lineup Dec. 31 against Dallas in Washington's final regular-season game.

Cedric Griffin has 33 tackles and four pass deflections this season.

The 30-year-old defensive back played for Minnesota from 2006-11 after being drafted out of the University of Texas.

Urlacher out at least 3 games

CHICAGO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Linebacker Brian Urlacher's sore hamstring will likely keep him out of the Bears' next three games and maybe longer, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Two sources told the newspaper the Grade 2 hamstring strain could sideline Urlacher through the remainder of the regular season, though it's possible he could be back by the Bears' Dec. 30 game against Detroit.

Urlacher was hurt on the second-to-last play of Chicago's overtime loss to Seattle Sunday as he chased Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. There was no contact on the play.

Nick Roach is likely to start in Urlacher's place at middle linebacker Sunday against Minnesota. The Bears also have Dom DeCicco available.

Nationals sign pitcher Dan Haren

NASHVILLE, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Right-handed pitcher Dan Haren has agreed to a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals, the team said Tuesday.

Haren, 32, broke into the majors in 2003 with the St. Louis Cardinals and played the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. He has a 119-97 record and 3.66 ERA over 10 seasons.

Haren was 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA last year as he worked around back injuries. He worked at least 216 innings each year from 2005-11 but was limited to 176.2 innings last season.

He was named to the All-Star Game three times, in 2007 and '08 while with Oakland and 2009 while with Arizona.

The signing of Haren -- to a one-year deal reported to be worth $13.5 million -- enhances an already strong Washington starting rotation. The Nationals' Stephan Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman combined for 47 wins last season.

Gonzalez and Zimmerman are both 26 while Strasburg is 23.

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