Irish writers honour McIlroy for stellar year
THE sense of inevitability about Rory McIlroy winning the 'Professional of the Year' in the Irish Golf Writers' Awards for 2012 does not diminish the scale and quality of McIlroy's achievements.
McIlroy (23) was simply outstanding and in a class of his own last year.
The Holywood star won the US PGA Championship in record-breaking fashion at Kiawah Island in August to annex his second Major.
That success was the highlight of five victories he recorded worldwide in a season during which he also captured the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic and became the first Irish golfer to attain world No 1 status.
This is McIlroy's third time to win the 'Professional of the Year' award, having also won in 2009 and in 2011, when he shared the honour with Darren Clarke.
The amateur awards were also captured by Ulster golfers. Alan Dunbar of Rathmore Golf Club was voted 'Men's Amateur of the Year' following his win in the Amateur Championship at Royal Troon, while Royal Portrush's Stephanie Meadow claimed the 'Women's Amateur of the Year' award following an impressive campaign.
Having helped the University of Alabama to their first team national title in the NCAA Championships in Tennessee in May, Meadow secured the decisive point for Great Britain and Ireland in a dramatic Curtis Cup victory over the US at Nairn before going on to capture the Ladies' British Amateur Open title at Carnoustie.
Cork-born businessman Oliver Barry, who started his career in the music industry as an impresario and concert promoter, is the recipient of the 'Distinguished Services to Golf' award. His vision of providing affordable and challenging golf to the people of Dublin led to the founding of his 27-hole facility at Hollystown in 1992.
The course was the first pay-and-play golf venue in Ireland to have a pre-booking facility, obviating the need for pre-dawn queues which were the norm at public courses in those days.
The recipients will receive their awards – which have been designed for the Irish Golf Writers' Association by Tipperary Crystal – at a dinner sponsored by Carton House Golf Club in Maynooth on January 24.