Lee Westwood has been voted Golfer of the Year for a record fourth time by the Association of Golf Writers, with his hosting of the Betfred British Masters at Close House among many reasons for the accolade.
Westwood polled 53% of members’ votes to secure the award ahead of Germany’s Sophia Popov, the AIG Women’s Open winner who was second with 20%.
He was first presented with the award in 1998 and for a second time in 2000 when he won seven times around the globe. He was voted AGW Golfer of the Year for a third occasion in 1999.
Now, eleven years later, the 47-year-old Westwood is the first player to win the vote four times, weeks after completing his third No. 1 finish on the European Tour rankings.
AGW Chairman Martin Dempster said: “As well as hosting the Close House tournament, Lee supported other events on a new UK Swing. Both on and off the course, he showed why so many of his peers regard him as the definition of the European Tour.
“Lee led by example after the tour came out of the first Covid-19 lockdown. He admitted he found the environment at events totally different to what he had been used to during his glittering career, but he got on with it in a professional manner.”
The golf writers’ trophy, initially awarded in 1951, recognises the team, person or persons, resident or born in Europe, who in the opinion of the majority of association members, made the most outstanding contribution to golf during the preceding 12 months.
Westwood said: “I’m again honoured to be voted AGW Golfer of the Year and even more so to now win the award for a fourth time. It’s always a special award because it is voted by the dedicated golfing press who are out there reporting on the various tournaments.
“We all know 2020 was a very different year but they are the ones who continually keep a close eye on what has been going on in the golf world.
“Another good thing about the AGW award is that it takes into account all Europeans whether they’re men or women, competing at an individual or team level or whether they’re professional or amateur and no matter where they tee-up around the world.
“There were some great performances in this shortened year with Sophia Popov’s AIG Women’s Open victory at Royal Troon very impressive while Jon Rahm played well in the States.
“Also Justin and Kate Rose are to be congratulated for organising the Rose Ladies Series to provide playing opportunities for UK-based players last summer. So, I feel very fortunate and honoured.”
Westwood, who turned professional in 1993, has long enjoyed dealing with members of the AGW. He explained: “I’ve always felt throughout my career I’ve had a good relationship with the association’s members and the media in general.
“We’re all out here trying to do a job and while there are some times you don’t want to speak it is part of the job and I have always tried to make myself available whenever I can. The media may not always get a decent answer from me but at least they get an answer!”
AGW Chairman Dempster added: “2020 may have been different, but it still provided lots of memorable moments in golf, including a fairy tale victory for Sophia Popov in the AIG Women’s Open.
“However, I feel that Lee is a deserved winner and not just on the strength of his latest European Tour Race to Dubai title, brilliant as though that achievement may have been.”
Westwood will be presented with the trophy at this year’s Association of Golf Writers annual dinner on Tuesday, 14th July, 2021 in the week of the rescheduled 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.
ABOUT THE AGW GOLF WRITERS TROPHY:
- First awarded 1951 (Max Faulkner)
- European Ryder Cup Team winners in 1985, 1987, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006.
- GB&I Walker Cup team winners in 1971, 1989, 2001
- Lee Westwood winner in 1998, 2000, 2009 and 2020
- Seve Ballesteros winner in 1979, 1984 and 1991
- Rory McIlroy winner in 2012, 2014 and 2015
- Annika Sorenstam winner in 2003 and 2005