Padraig Harrington has joined three of his Irish golfing heroes in winning the Golf Writers’ Trophy.
The Open champion, as an Irishman, was not eligible for any of the awards on offer last week at the Sports Journalists’ Association’s British Sports Awards, and oddly, was overlooked for the BBC’s annual Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award, too, despite his play-off heroics at Carnoustie in July.
But the Golf Writers allow themselves greater leeway in selection, and Harrington thus joins past winners from across the Irish Sea in Joe Carr in 1953, Harry Bradshaw in 1958 and Christy O’Connor in 1977.
Harrington claimed more than 75 per cent of votes in the poll, with Order of Merit winner Justin Rose coming second and Scotland’s World Cup- winning pair Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren third.
The golf writers had good cause to reward Harrington, since what he did on the final day could not have been imagined: Harrington came from six strokes behind Sergio Garcia, survived a double-bogey six at the 72nd hole when he was twice in the Barry Burn and then defeated the Spaniard in a four-hole play-off.
He became the second Irishman after Fred Daly 60 years ago to win the Open and the first European since Paul Lawrie at the same venue in 1999 to win any major championship.
“I was thrilled to get the news that I had won the award,” Harrington said.
“It means a lot to find myself bracketed alongside such great former winners.”