Lee Westwood has been named the 2020 European Tour Golfer of the Year, winning the prestigious annual award for the fourth time in his distinguished career.
The 47-year-old Englishman began the season with victory in the year’s first Rolex Series event, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, and ended it by winning the Race to Dubai after finishing runner up to Matt Fitzpatrick in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai earlier this month.
In between those two standout performances, he showed remarkable consistency, missing only one cut in 15 European Tour appearances and recording six consecutive top 20 finishes from the ISPS Handa UK Championship in August to the Scottish Championship presented by AXA in October.
The ten-time Ryder Cup player also hosted the Betfred British Masters for the second time at Close House in July, with the tournament marking the full resumption of the European Tour’s 2020 season following a three month pause due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Westwood made history in Abu Dhabi when he became the first active golfer to win across four separate decades by claiming his 25th European Tour title.
The former world no.1 entered the record books again in the Middle East at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai as he birdied two of the last three holes in the season-finale to secure solo second place, becoming only the sixth player to win the Harry Vardon Trophy three times or more since the European Tour came into existence in 1972.
He was previously crowned European No.1 in 2000 and 2009, with the span of 20 years between his first and most recent Harry Vardon trophy surpassing the previous record of 15 years held by Seve Ballesteros. His longevity was further underlined by the fact he also became the oldest winner of the Race to Dubai at the age of 47 years, seven months and 20 days.
Westwood has now added his fourth European Tour Golfer of the Year award to that list of achievements, having also claimed the honour in 1998, 2000 and 2009. He was chosen as the 2020 recipient by a panel comprising members of the golf media.
Westwood said: “I am very honoured and extremely flattered to have been named European Tour Golfer of the Year as I know the competition for the award this year would have been extremely high.
“Thank you to the media for voting for me and also huge congratulations again to everyone at the European Tour who did a tremendous job this year managing to put on a full International schedule under such difficult times.
“I never forget that I am extremely fortunate to do a job which I love, and which has sent me around the world playing in the most amazing places and meeting some wonderful people, so to win this award is very humbling.
“I am looking forward to the 2021 season, the 28th season of my career, which I will start by defending at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour, said: “Lee has been an incredible ambassador for golf and for the European Tour, not just throughout 2020 but also across his entire career. His performances and his professionalism are matched by his longevity and his commitment to European golf. For Lee to call shortly before our resumption and ask what he could do to help the Tour is testament to the person and the player he is.
“To then go on to become the European Tour’s no.1 player for a third time, 20 years after he first achieved that accolade, was a storybook way to end this most challenging of years. Lee is therefore a thoroughly deserving winner of the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year award.”
Panel member James Corrigan, golf correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, said: “Lee Westwood is the worthy recipient on his golf alone – winning the Race to Dubai having prevailed in Abu Dhabi and racking up another seven top 20s. Yet the fact that he lifted his third Harry Vardon Trophy as a 47-year-old, 20 years after his first, makes his candidature all the more irresistible. He has been incredibly loyal to his home circuit and as Matt Fitzpatrick said in Dubai: “Lee is the definition of this tour.”