Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Europeans claim 2004 Golf Writers Trophy


Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team has secured another overwhelming victory by claiming the 2004 Golf Writers Trophy and the outstanding captaincy of Bernhard Langer was further emphasized in the annual poll.

Langer, whose inspirational and meticulous leadership helped Europe to a record nine-point victory over the Americans at Oakland Hills, finished a clear second in the voting ahead of Ernie Els, the European order of merit winner, with Annika Sorenstam and Colin Montgomerie tying for fourth place.

The Golf Writers Trophy is awarded each year to the individual or team, born or resident in Europe, who have made the most outstanding contribution to golf in the preceding 12 months.

Karen Stupples, the Womens British Open champion, Miguel Angel Jimenez, who won five times, and the English World Cup pair of Luke Donald and Paul Casey were among others to feature in the poll.

This is the fifth time the Ryder Cup team has won the award, with Langer involved on each occasion. The German twice won the trophy as an individual, in 1981 and 1993, making him the most honored recipient since the award was introduced in 1951.

Seve Ballesteros won three times as an individual and with three Ryder Cup teams.

"It is always a great honor to be considered by the members of the Association of Golf Writers to receive their own trophy," Langer said. "The whole experience of being Europe's Ryder Cup captain was awesome and one I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Commenting on his captain's achievement, Montgomerie said: "It is difficult to say whether someone has been the best captain ever but Bernhard was certainly the coolest.

"He may have been wearing those blue and yellow shoes, which made Ian Poulter envious, but he had the shades on and he always walked around at exactly the same pace. He was never flustered by anything. He was the epitome of cool.

"Bernhard was a fantastic leader and did a magnificent job. Thanks to him, we weren't playing for ourselves, we were playing for each other. We left our egos in Europe and we were a team even before we got on the plane to go to America.

"On the Friday night I could sense some of the younger players might be becoming a little complacent. There was a lot of talk going on while Bernhard was trying to explain something. Eventually, I pointed out that he had won two green jackets, which were two more than any of us, and it might be worth listening to him."

On a personal note, Montgomerie holed the winning putt on the 18th green at Oakland Hills following the trauma of his divorce earlier in the year. "When that putt went in, it righted the wrongs of the previous 12 months," Monty admitted.

"Every shot on a golf course pleases someone, whether it is you or your opponent, and when David Toms chipped 20 feet past at the last, that pleased me."

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