McDowell caps 'tremendous' year with Irish writers' award
THE surprise is ... that there's no surprise about the winner of 'Professional of the Year' in the AIB Irish Golf Writers' Association Awards for 2010.
Enter stage left Graeme McDowell, who still needs more than a moment to himself to appreciate the enormity of his achievements.
The 31-year-old Ulsterman had a sensational year during which he moved to No 7 in the world rankings after wins in the Wales Open, the US Open, the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and the Chevron World Challenge.
His singles win over Hunter Mahan in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in October was pivotal in Europe regaining the trophy from the United States.
"I am deeply honoured to win this award -- and to see that Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington won in previous years confirms the strength of Irish golf at this time," he said. "In fact, European golf is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, with Lee Westwood's move to No 1 in the world rankings and Martin Kaymer's win at the US PGA Championship.
"This was a tremendous year for me personally and professionally. To win my first Major championship at Pebble Beach and then to bring home the team to victory at the Ryder Cup made this past season very special, the stuff of dreams."
Alan Dunbar -- who, like McDowell, is a member of Rathmore Golf Club -- has been voted the 'Men's Amateur of the Year' following his wins in the AIB Irish Amateur Open and the Magners North of Ireland championships, while Danielle McVeigh, of Royal County Down Ladies, has been voted the 'Women's Amateur of the Year'.
McVeigh, who won the Scottish Open strokeplay championship earlier in the season, was the highest points winner for Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup match against the US in Massachusetts in June.
And Bill Gibson, an honorary life member of Curragh Golf Club, has landed the 'Distinguished Services to Golf' award.
The four recipients of the awards will be honoured at an Awards Dinner in Dublin on January 27.