Masters Champion Sergio Garcia has been named the named Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year for the first time in his career following a highly successful season
Garcia, who won three times in 2017 including his first major title, was awarded the accolade above Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and rookie of the year Jon Rahm in a poll of members of the golf media.
“This is an amazing honour,” said Garcia. “I think both on and off the golf course it has been a unique and unbelievable year, and one that I will definitely remember my whole life.
“I am so happy to receive this award, and to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year, against the calibre of players that were in contention is incredible. Tommy, Justin, Tyrrell and Jon are all amazing players, and all had unbelievable years themselves.
“With the five of us filling the top five places in the Race to Dubai, it shows the real strength of the European Tour, and European players in particular, and hopefully we will keep that going for next September in Paris.”
Garcia’s year: Victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
The Spaniard ended a three-year winless run on the European Tour and outplayed a star-studded field to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in early February.
Starting the final round with a three-shot advantage, Garcia posted a bogey-free 69 to finish three shots clear of 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson.
First major triumph at the Masters
Sergio Garcia outlasted Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose on the 1st play-off hole to win his first major title in one of the most dramatic back-nine Sunday battles in the history of the Masters.
There was a feeling it had been predestined as Garcia rolled in his birdie putt on the 18th hole to ensure victory for the 37-year-old on what would have been Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday.
“It’s been such a long time coming.” Garcia said. “I knew that I was playing well. Today I felt the calmest I have ever felt on a major Sunday and even after making a couple bogeys I was still very positive I still believed there were still a lot of holes I could get to. I’m so happy”
“It’s funny. When I came here in ’99 as an amateur I felt like this course was going to give me at least one major. That thought changed a bit as I began to feel uncomfortable on the course but I’ve come to peace with it the last three or four years, and I accepted what Augusta gives and takes, and I think because of that I’m able to stand here today”
“To do it on his (Seve’s) 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf my whole life, it’s something amazing”
Third victory of the year at Valderrama
Sergio Garcia successfully defended the Andalucia Valderrama Masters title by a single shot over Joost Luiten, winning the event hosted by his foundation for its first return to the European Tour since 2011.
In its third edition and being hosted by The Sergio Foundation Masters for the first time since Garcia’s win in 2011, the Masters champion was a notable favourite for the title – with a more than enviable record at the typically tough venue. Garcia has only finished outside the top 10 at Valderrama once in his 13 event appearances here, and his latest victory was his sixth on Spanish soil.
In addition the was also awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour in the same week.