London, England: Lee Westwood and Catriona Matthew have become the latest recipients of the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s Recognition Award for outstanding contribution to the game of golf.
Westwood collected his honour from PGA Captain John Heggarty at the association’s annual fund-raising lunch in London, while Matthew was presented with her PGA Recognition Award at the PGA’s annual lunch in Scotland.
Westwood is a seven-time Ryder Cup winner, having made 10 appearances in the competition. He was unbeaten in both the 2004 and 2006 matches and equalled Arnold Palmer’s record of 12 successive undefeated matches in 2008. One of only a handful of players to have won tournaments on five continents, former world number one Westwood was awarded an OBE for his services to golf in 2011.
More recently, he served as one of Thomas Bjørn’s Vice-Captains as Europe claimed back the Ryder Cup in Paris last September. Less than two months later, the Worksop-born player claimed his 24th European Tour title by winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.
“It has been a great end to the season for me – winning again in South Africa was amazing, and then to receive this prestigious award is the icing on the cake. I am really grateful to be recognised by the PGA and appreciate all their support,” said Westwood.
“The PGA is delighted to present its Recognition Award to Lee, who is one of Europe’s truly great players. His Ryder Cup record proves that along with the fact that he ended Tiger Woods’ five-year reign as world number one in 2010,” said Robert Maxfield, Chief Executive of The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
“The PGA Recognition Award is our way of acknowledging great achievements in the game, and I’m delighted on behalf of the PGA’s membership to bestow this accolade on Lee. He is a deserving winner and a credit to the sport,” added Maxfield.
Matthew, meanwhile, is Scotland’s most successful ever female golfer, with four LPGA Tour victories to her name, as well as six Ladies European Tour wins and five top-five finishes in Major championships, including a win at the 2009 Women’s British Open.
A Solheim Cup stalwart, with nine appearances in the competition, the 49-year-old is well placed to lead Europe when she captains the team at Gleneagles this year.
Money raised from the PGA lunches went to the PGA Benevolent Fund that helps PGA Members who have fallen on difficult times.