Thursday, January 06, 2011

McDowell's crowning Glory

Graeme McDowell’s crucial birdie putt on the 16th hole on the final day of The Ryder Cup has been voted The European Tour Shot of the Year for 2010, adding to the Northern Irishman’s remarkable haul of awards following his career-defining season. The 31 year old’s achievements throughout 2010 have been recognised around the world with a host of deserved awards and accolades, and among the many great shots he played in a phenomenal season it was the 15 foot putt on the 16th green at The Celtic Manor Resort during his singles tie against Hunter Mahan which stood head and shoulders above the rest. Knowing that the outcome of The Ryder Cup rested firmly on his shoulders, McDowell held his nerve in front of the tens of thousands of spectators gathered around the green – and millions glued to television sets - to stroke the ball home. For many observers it was the sporting moment of the year, and for the judging panel of golf commentators it was certainly The European Tour Shot of the Year. McDowell went on to beat Mahan at the next hole to secure the winning point in Europe’s 14 ½ - 13 ½ victory over the United States, the narrowest margin of victory since 1991. McDowell said: “That putt on the 16th was the best I’ve hit in my life. It was just 15 feet but it was above the hole and very fast. I knew I just had to get the ball going and thankfully it caught an edge and dropped in because I wouldn’t have fancied the one back if it had missed! “In the context of The Ryder Cup, that 16th hole was massive as I was aware that everything was riding on the outcome of my singles match with Hunter. I knew that a half point was still not good enough to regain the cup. “However everything went according to plan at the 16th and the rest is history. I will never forget the feeling standing over that putt and appreciating its importance. It was as important as any stroke I will ever play in my career and I am delighted it has been voted as The European Tour Shot of the Year.” The Shot of the Year award gives McDowell a famous double, as he was also named the joint recipient of The 2010 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year award along with Germany’s Martin Kaymer, as well as the winner of the annual awards from the Association of Golf Writers, the Golf Writers’ Association of America and the Irish Golf Writers while he was also named RTE Sportsperson of the Year. McDowell, who in addition to securing the winning point in The Ryder Cup became the first European to win The US Open in 40 years and won three other titles during the year, was also named RTE Sportsperson of the Year in Ireland and received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List. The European Tour Shot of the Year competition ran on europeantour.com over the festive period with one lucky entrant winning a fantastic golf break to the outstanding London Golf Club, the first European Tour Destination in the European Tour Properties portfolio. Second place in the Shot of the Year competition went to Kaymer, The 2010 Race to Dubai winner, for his fearless putt on the 18th green at Whistling Straits to force a play-off with American Bubba Watson in the US PGA Championship, which the German went on to win. In third place was Ian Poulter’s superb chip on the 15th green in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship against fellow Englishman Paul Casey. The European Tour Shot of the Month Award is presented to the Tour Member for the shot judged to be the most outstanding played during each calendar month on The European Tour International Schedule. The winning shots from each month are entered into The European Tour Shot of the Year Award. The full list of monthly winners in 2010 was: Martin Kaymer (January and August) Ian Poulter (February), Noh Seung-yul (March), Lee Westwood (April), Luke Donald (May), Graeme McDowell (June and October), Miguel Angel Jiménez (July), Edoardo Molinari (September), Robert Karlsson (November).

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