McIlroy and Clarke share top accolade at writers' awards
RORY McIlroy, the US Open champion, and Darren Clarke, the British Open champion, have been jointly voted Professional of the Year in the AIB Irish Golf Writers' Awards for 2011.
McIlroy (22) won the US Open in record-breaking fashion at Congressional Country Club in Washington DC in June, while Clarke (43) claimed the Claret Jug at Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich the following month.
It's the first time since 2004 -- when Ryder Cup players Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley were the recipients -- that the 'Professional' gong has been shared in the annual awards.
This is McIlroy's second time to win the Professional of the Year award, having also won in 2009.
Clarke, who won his first accolade from the writers in 1993, is winning for a seventh time.
Paul Cutler, from Portstewart Golf Club, has been voted the Men's Amateur of the Year following a season in which he was unbeaten.
The 23-year-old also secured three and a half points from four matches in guiding GB and Ireland to victory over the United States in the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen.
Cutler also won the Irish Amateur Close and West of Ireland titles.
The Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, have jointly won the Women's Amateur of the Year award.
Seamus Smith, who retired as General Secretary of the Golfing Union of Ireland in April, has been named as the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Golf award.
A former Sports Editor of the 'Irish Press', Smith was appointed to the GUI in 1996 and oversaw the modernisation of the union at a time of unprecedented growth for the sport in Ireland.
The winners will be honoured at an Awards Dinner in Dublin on February 2, 2012.