United States Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin has become the first overseas winner of the PGA Recognition Award. The California-born golfer was presented with the accolade at the PGA’s annual luncheon and charity fundraiser at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday 18 December.
Pavin follows in the footsteps of rival Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie in being honoured by the PGA in recognition of his achievements in the sport. The 50 year old boasts an impressive haul of 15 titles on the US PGA Tour, a tally that includes the highlight of his career – his US Open triumph at Shinnecock Hills in 1995.
His longevity and success was illustrated this year by the fact that only five other players in action on the US Tour had won more titles than Pavin – Tiger Woods (66), Phil Mickelson (36), Vijay Singh (34), Davis Love III (20) and Ernie Els (16).
Pavin’s last victory came in 2006 at the US Bank Championship in Milwaukee and was memorable for his record for the fewest number of strokes needed to complete nine holes at a PGA Tour event (eight-under-par 26).
In addition to his US success, Pavin regularly competed on the international circuit where he notched up 12 victories. Three of those came during his first full season as a professional in 1983, including the German Open and South African PGA Championship.
A past Walker Cup player, Pavin earned three successive Ryder Cup appearances, tasting victory in 1991 and 1993.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones paid tribute to Pavin’s achievements saying: “We are absolutely delighted Corey has accepted the invitation to receive his award. It is especially appropriate he becomes our first overseas winner because in the early days of his career he probably bucked the trend by travelling extensively outside the US. As a result he made a name for himself by winning in his first full season as a professional both in Europe and in South Africa.
“Corey is a proven winner and will no doubt be a wonderful Ryder Cup captain. It will be an intriguing contest with Colin Montgomerie leading the European team against a US team that I’m sure will be ingrained with Corey’s tenacity.”
As well as celebrating Pavin’s career, the luncheon also raised money for the PGA Benevolent Fund while a special cheque presentation of £30,000 was made to the Golf Foundation by PGA captain Jim Farmer on behalf of the Association.