Sergio Garcia named European Tour Golfer of the Year
Last Updated: 07/12/17 3:24pm
Masters champion Sergio Garcia has ended a memorable 2017 on another high after being named Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year.
Garcia picks up the accolade for the first time in his career in recognition of his three victories during the season, the outstanding highlight being his first major championship title at Augusta National in April.
The Spaniard outplayed a star-studded field to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in early February, and he then made his long-awaited major breakthrough in stunning style two months later.
The 37-year-old edged out Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in an enthralling final-round duel at the Masters, clinching victory with a birdie at the first play-off hole on the day his idol, Seve Ballesteros, would have celebrated his 60th birthday.
Garcia became the third Spaniard to win the coveted Green Jacket following Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal, both double-winners at Augusta, and finally shed the unwanted tag of "best player never to have won a major" in his 74th appearance in one of the Grand Slam events.
The 14-time European Tour winner also enjoyed a memorable year in his personal life, having married his fiancee Angela Akins shortly after The Open in July.
"This is an amazing honour," said Garcia, who beat the likes of European No 1 Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Rookie of the Year Jon Rahm in a poll of members of the golf media. "I think both on and off the golf course it has been a unique and unbelievable year, and one that I will definitely remember my whole life.
"I am so happy to receive this award, and to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year, against the calibre of players that were in contention is incredible. Tommy, Justin, Tyrrell and Jon are all amazing players, and all had unbelievable years themselves.
"With the five of us filling the top five places in the Race to Dubai, it shows the real strength of the European Tour, and European players in particular, and hopefully we will keep that going for next September in Paris."
Garcia picked up his third victory of the season at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, a tournament he hosts on behalf of his foundation, and he was also awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour in the same week.
He was in the running for the Race to Dubai title right up to the final event at the DP World Tour Championship, but a tie for fourth in Dubai saw him finish third in the standings behind Fleetwood, Rose and Rahm.
Keith Pelley, chief executive of The European Tour, said: "Sergio is a wonderful ambassador for our game and an incredible talent, so it was no surprise his victory in the Masters Tournament proved so popular with golf fans around the world.
"That alone was a remarkable achievement, but to also win two other prestigious titles in 2017, including his home tournament at Valderrama, makes it a simply sensational season, and he is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year award."