England’s Lee Westwood has been voted for a record fourth time as the Association of Golf Writers (AGW) ‘Golfer of the Year’. Westwood polled 53% of the votes of Association members to secure the 2020 ‘Golfer of the Year’ title from Germany’s and AIG Women’s Open winner, Sophia Popov who was second favourite among members with 20% of the votes.
The prestigious AGW Golfer Writers Trophy, initially awarded in 1951, recognises the team, person or persons, resident or born in Europe, who in the opinion of the majority of Association members, made the most outstanding contribution to golf during the preceding 12 months.
Westwood was first presented with the award in 1998 and then for a second time in 2000 when he brilliantly won seven times around the globe. He was voted AGW ‘Golfer of the Year’ for a third occasion in 1999. Now eleven-years later the 47-year-old Westwood, just weeks after capturing the European Tour No. 1 crown for a third occasion, is the first player to win the AGW members majority vote four times.
“I’m again honoured to be voted AGW Golfer of the Year and even more so to now win the award for a fourth time,” said Westwood. “It’s always a special award because it is voted by the dedicated golfing press who are out there reporting on the various tournaments. We all know 2020 was a very different year but they are the ones who continually keep a close eye on what has been going on in the golf world.
“The good thing also about the AGW Golfer of the Year award is it takes into account all Europeans whether they’re men or women, competing at individual or team level or whether they’re professional or amateur and no matter where they tee-up around the world. There were some great performances in this shortened year with Sophia Popov’s AIG Women’s Open victory at Royal Troon very impressive while Jon Rahm played well in the States and Justin and Kate (Rose) are to be congratulated for organising the Rose Ladies Series. So, I feel very fortunate and honoured to have won.”
And Westwood, who turned professional in 1993, has long enjoyed a good relationship with members of the Association as he explained.
“I’ve always felt throughout my career I’ve had a good relationship with members of the AGW and the media in general,” he said. “We’re all out here trying to do a job and while there are some times you don’t want to speak, it is part of the job and I have always tried to make myself available whenever I can. You may not always get a decent answer but at least you get an answer (laughing).”
AGW Chairman Martin Dempster said: “2020 may have been different, but it still provided lots of memorable moments in golf, including a fairy tale victory for Sophia Popov in the AIG Women’s Open. That was reflected in her securing 20% of the vote from our members, with Jon Rahm (13%) also being recognised for another strong season.
“I was also delighted to see Justin Rose and his wife, Kate, receiving 7% of the vote in recognition of their efforts in launching the inaugural Rose Ladies Series to provide playing opportunities for UK-based players last summer. However, I feel that Lee Westwood is a deserved winner of the 2020 AGW Golfer of the Year Award and not just on the strength of his latest European Tour Race to Dubai title, brilliant as though that achievement may have been.
“Lee led by example after the European Tour came out of the first Covid-19 lockdown, admitting he found the environment at events totally different to what he had been used to during his glittering career but getting on with it in a professional manner. As well as hosting the Betfred British Masters at Close House, he supported other events on a new UK Swing and, both on and off the golf course, showed why so many of his peers regard him as ‘the definition of the European Tour’.”
Westwood will be presented with the trophy at this year’s Association of Golf Writers annual dinner to be held on Tuesday, 14th July, 2021 in the week of the rescheduled 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s
AGW GOLF WRITERS TROPHY – Background Information
- First awarded 1951 (Max Faulkner)
- European Ryder Cup Team winners in 1985, 1987, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006.
- GB & I Walker Cup team winners in 1971, 1989, 2001
- Lee Westwood winner in 1998, 2000, 2009 and 2020
- Seve Ballesteros winner in 1979, 1984 and 1991
- Rory McIlroy winner in 2012, 2014 and 2015
- Annika Sorenstam winner in 2003 and 2005