Fred Daly, the only Irishman to win the British Open Championship and one of the greatest golfers to grace the scene in these islands in the post-war era, has won the Distinguished Service Award in a ballot by members of the Irish Golf Writers' Association writes Edmund Van Esbeck.
The other winners are: Leading Woman golfer: Mary McKenna; Men's amateur: David Long; professional, Des Smyth. The winners will be presented with their awards at a dinner to be held at Milltown Golf Club next month.
Daly, now 68, won the British Open title in 1347. was runner-up the following year and third on two occasions (1930 and 1952). He won the Irish Open title in 1946. He was British Match-Play champion on three occasions and is a former winner of the Dunlop Masters. He was honoured with Ryder Cup selection on four occasions and winner of a host of other tournaments in both Ireland and Britain.
For Miss McKenna it is the second time in four years that she has won the women's award. She was the recipient in the inaugural year of the awards, (1976). She made an outstanding contribution to Ireland's victory in the European Women's Championship at Hermitage. On an individual level, she won the Irish Women's title in Donegal, her fifth success in the national championship.
A beaten semi-finalist by her compatriot Maureen Madill in the British Women's Championship. she received ample compensation for that reverse when she staged a magnificent recovery to win the British Women's Stroke-Play title after an opening round that left her in danger of not making the cut. Miss McKenna has been a Curtis Cup player for the past ten years.
Only yesterday, it was announced hat Miss McKenna had been named as Daks Woman Golfer of the Year for 1979. She was the unanimous choice of a panel of golfer writers in Britain.
For Des Smyth, this honour came after a season in which he made the breakthrough to the top sphere after some lean years since he turned professional. He won the European Match-Play title, the Rank-Xerox Irish Professional Championship at Royal Dublin in September and a Ryder Cup place on the team who lost to the United States.
David Long was a member or the Ireland team who finished third in the European Championships in Denmark and the first Irishman to win the English Stroke-Play Championship. He also won the West of Ireland title when he produced a tremendous finish to erase a considerable deficit against Arthur Pierse and then clinched his success at the eighth tie hole.
The members of the Irish women's team who won the European Championship and the Youths side who took the European Crown in Czechoslovakia will be guests at the dinner, and will be the recipients of special mementoes to mark their achievements in winning the European titles. The function and awards scheme are sponsored by P. J. Carroll and Co.