Padraig Harrington Padraig Harrington named 2007 European PGA Tour Golfer of the Year

Following a breakthrough year that saw him win the British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland, Ireland's Padraig Harrington has been named the 2007 European Tour Golfer of the Year.

"There are obviously lots of things that happened this year that made it very special, starting with the birth of my second son, Ciaran, but following not too far behind was winning The Open Championship," Harrington told the media.

Harrington, 36, also won the Irish Open in 2007 and has recorded 21 career victories around the globe, including 12 on the European Tour. The Irishman's nail-biting, four-hole playoff victory over Sergio Garcia in the British Open was the deciding factor in the honor, as Harrington started the final round six shots back of the lead, but his 67 put him into the dramatic playoff.

"I was talking to a few people and we certainly had in mind that I would have to shoot two 67s on the weekend," Harrington said of the win. "I shot 68 on the Saturday and played very solidly for that. Going out on the Sunday I was six shots behind, but I knew second place was six under par and I had to get past that to give myself a chance. "

With his victory - which he managed despite twice going into the water on Carnoustie's 18th hole - Harrington became the first European in eight years to win one of golf's major tournaments, while becoming the first player from Ireland to win the Claret Judge in 60 years. Harrington finished 21st in the final FedEx Cup playoff race, as well as 21st on the PGA Tour money list.

Harrington barely edged out Angel Cabrera, who himself had a strong 2007 that peaked in his winning the U.S. Open in a duel with World No. 1 Tiger Woods.

"Undoubtedly Angel had a great year, too. He played some great golf at the U.S. Open and his triumph there was probably one of the most spectacular wins of the year," said Harrington. "In terms of being flamboyant, he hit some great shots in that final round."

The stunning victory in the U.S. Open was the first major title for the 38 year old from Argentina. It was one of four wins this year for Cabrera.

"In fewer than 40 days in the summer of 2007 Angel and Padraig earned global recognition by completing a major championship double not achieved by European Tour members since the European Tour was born in 1971," George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, told reporters. "Both players are outstanding role models for the European Tour."

Also receiving consideration was Justin Rose, who ended up in the No. 1 spot on Europe's Order of Merit with his wins at the Volvo Masters and MasterCard Masters. Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson also won twice in 2007.

December 11, 2007

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