Paul McGinley with the 2005 Volvo Masters trophyPaul McGinley has been rewarded for a year that saw him win the PGA European Tour season-ending Volvo Masters and rise from 68th in the official world rankings to a career-high 18th by being named as the recipient of the O2 Irish Golf Writers’ Association ‘Professional Player of the Year’ for 2005.
McGinley, 38, is winning his second professional award. Last year, he shared the honour with Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke for the trio’s performances in helping Europe retain the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Michigan. The Dubliner will receive his award at the O2 IGWA annual awards dinner which will be held at Elm Park Golf Club, Dublin, on January 12th, 2006.
In a season which saw McGinley finish third in the PGA European Tour Order of Merit, behind Colin Montgomerie and US Open winner Michael Campbell, his victory at the Volvo Masters came after a series of near-misses throughout 2005 when he finished runner-up on three occasions and was third in the WGC-NEC Invitational, won by Tiger Woods. His three second place finishes came in the TCL Classic in China, the BMW (PGA) Championship at Wentworth, and the HSBC World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth.
Brian McElhinney’s victory in the British Amateur Championship sees the Donegal player win the ‘Men’s Amateur Player of the Year’ award for a second successive year. McElhinney, who made his Walker Cup debut in Chicago in August, was also a member of the North-West Golf Club team that won the Bulmers Irish Senior Cup at Rosslare in September.
In becoming the first Irish winner of the Amateur Championship since Michael Hoey, McElhinney emerged as a 5 and 4 winner of Scotland’s John Gallagher and secured an invitation to play in next year’s US Masters at Augusta National.
Tricia Mangan, of Ennis Golf Club, has been named as the ‘Women‘s Amateur Player of the Year’ following her victory in the Lancome Irish Ladies Close Championship where she defeated Limerick‘s Catherine Tucker in the final. Mangan also played a significant role in Great Britain & Ireland’s 13-11 win over the continent of Europe in the Vagliano Trophy in Paris when she won three points from four matches.
The ‘Distinguished Services to Golf’ award for 2005 has been awarded to Padraig O hUiginn, a native of Cork who played an important part in securing the 2006 Ryder Cup for Ireland and who was also instrumental in the foundation of the Team Ireland Golf Trust which assists young professional golfers in their fledgling careers.