Welsh golf star Phil Price rates winning the Staysure Seniors Tour Order of Merit last season as being right up there with his Ryder Cup heroics.
Following Ian Woosnam as the only Welsh player to top one of the main golf order of merit tables was also enough to earn 53-year-old Price the Wales Golf Tour Pro of the Year Award.
Of course, he is best known for beating Phil Mickelson in the singles of the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry, helping Team Europe to victory, but last year’s European Seniors Tour win represents reward for consistency.
Price was due to collect the award at the Wales Golf Annual Awards Lunch at 2010 Clubhouse of Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor, but unfortunately the event was postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The John Jacobs Trophy, awarded to the order of merit winner, followed an impressive showing in 17 events, winning the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship and also finishing in the top 10 no fewer than 12 times.
Finishing top of the rankings was confirmed with a tied third place finish at the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius in mid-December.
Former World number one and Masters champion Ian Woosnam won the European Tour Order of Merit twice, as well as the European Seniors Tour once, since the rankings started in 1970, so Price became the only other Welshman to top either of those rankings.
“I wanted to win this order of merit and I rank doing it as one of my top three golfing achievements,” said Price. “The Ryder Cup is what I will be remembered for and it was special to win that singles match and be part of a winning Ryder Cup team. Also winning the European Open was big for me.
“However, winning the John Jacobs Trophy is right up there with those two things. Everyone wants to be number one, so to do it over 17 events is very important to me. I won the PGA which is our biggest event outside the Majors, so it was nice to win that as part of a year which I enjoyed.
“I was leading from August on, but it was a long end of the season through to December. The pressure built up more and more because people were congratulating me, but there were a few people chasing me down.
“I had a lot to do going into the last event because if James Kingston won it then I would have to be in the top 10 to stay top of the money list. He was leading going into the final round so I knew I was under pressure to come through.
“I think it was my consistency which won it, most weeks I would turn up and do something. I was in good shape, prepared well, a strong mentality and a good ‘B’ game if I was not playing my best.”
The order of merit win was made more special for Price with son Edward as his caddy and his family in Mauritius to join in the celebrations.
“The whole family were there and my son was on the bag. He was great, it was a stressful back nine and he was very supportive,” said Price. “It was great to get onto the last green and know it was all over, it was nice to do it together. Our children were too young to be part of it when I won on the European Tour, so it was enjoyable to be with everyone this time.”
Wales Golf chief executive Richard Dixon added, “Congratulations to Phil, a deserved winner of this award for a big achievement in Welsh golf history. Any time you are joining Ian Woosnam as the only other Welsh player to have gained an achievement, you know you have done something pretty special.
“Only four years ago we were presenting Phil with a Wales Golf Outstanding Achievement Award, but he has shown he can still compete at the top level.
“Apart from working hard for his own success, Phil has always been an excellent role model and happy to give something back to the next generations of Welsh golfers coming through the ranks.
“We look forward to making the formal presentation of this well-deserved award at an event later in the year.”