Rory McIlroy’s stellar 2022 season has earned him the Professional of the Year award from the Irish Golf Writers’ Association.
Winner in 2009, 2011 (with Darren Clarke), 2012, 2014 and 2016, the 33-year-old Co Down man matches Pádraig Harrington in winning the award for the sixth time. He also received the IGWA’s Men’s Amateur of the Year award in 2006 and 2007.
The four-time Major champion enjoyed a magnificent year, winning three times en route to claiming his third FedEx Cup in the US and his fourth Harry Vardon Trophy as European number one. He also returned to number one in the Official World Golf Rankings for the ninth time since 2012.
McIlroy had several near misses, finishing second in the Masters Tournament and third in The 150th Open at St Andrews but feels better than ever about his chances of winning a fifth Major title.
“It’s a journey again, I feel like I’m on this journey to win my first Major again, which is a really great feeling,” he told RTÉ last week. “Instead of having the burden of ‘he hasn’t won one in eight years’, it’s more like ‘well no, I’m just trying to win a major’.
“I feel like I’m on that journey, I’m getting closer, I’m laying the foundations and I’m sort of building it step by step.”
Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley won the Men’s Amateur of the Year award, edging out his Irish teammate Matthew McClean from Malone.
The 25-year-old Dubliner became the first player since Darren Clarke in 1990 to win the North of Ireland and South of Ireland amateur titles in the same season and went on to reach the finals of the AIG Irish Amateur Close and the US Mid-Amateur Championship, where he fell 3&1 to McClean in the 36-hole final.
Kirkistown Castle’s Beth Coulter edged out Knock’s Katie Poots, Castlewarden’s Lauren Walsh and Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson for the Women’s Amateur of the Year award.
The 18-year-old Arizona State University player won the Irish Women’s Amateur Close at Grange and went on to claim the Irish Girls’ title at Kilkeel Golf Club for the third time in a row, becoming the first player in the 62-year history of the event to hold both the Irish Women’s and Girls’ Close Championships in the same year.
She was also second to Poots in Golf Ireland’s Women’s Bridgestone Tour Order of Merit, winning the Ulster Women’s Championship and the Royal Portrush and Hermitage Scratch Cups.
Skerries Golf Club professional and former European Tour player Jimmy Kinsella is the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Golf award.
Fifty years ago became the first Irishman to win on the fledgling European Tour, claiming the Madrid Open at Club de Campo in 1972. Kinsella won the Irish Professional Championship in 1972 and 1973, as well as the Irish Dunlop Tournament and the Carroll’s No 1 Tournament twice.
He also represented Ireland four times in the World Cup of Golf. He succeeded his father, Bill as head professional at Skerries Golf Cub in 1976.
BBC NI Sport’s Stephen Watson, Chairman of the Irish Golf Writers’ Association said: “It’s been another stellar year for Irish golf – both in the professional and amateur game and we are blessed to have so many great players on the island.
“Rory McIlroy’s magnificent season deservedly earns him the professional player of the year and I have no doubt the world number one will soon add a fifth major to his glittering CV.
“Congratulations to all of our winners and let’s hope for continued success in 2023.”
The Irish Golf Writers’ Association (IGWA) was founded in 1976 and plans to present the 2022 awards at a gala dinner in 2023.
Previous winners of the IGWA awards – http://www.irishgolfwriters.