Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington is the 2014 recipient of the PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf - the third Irish winner in a row after Darren Clarke in 2012 and Paul McGinley last year.
Given that Clarke is the favourite to succeed McGinley as Ryder Cup captain for 2016, one has to wonder if we are seeing a trend developing here with Harrington a potential Ryder Cup skipper for Paris in 2018.
The Dubliner, who recently won for the first time in four years at the Bank BRI Indonesian Open, picked up the accolade at the PGA’s annual fundraiser at the Grosvenor House Hotel.
According to the press release from the PGA:
Harrington has scaled the heights of world golf with back-to-back Open Championship victories at Carnoustie in 2007 and Royal Birkdale a year later.
He also held off the challenge of Sergio Garcia to land the USPGA Championship at Oakland Hills in 2008 to become the first European to win back-to-back Major Championships.
It was deserved reward for his efforts on the practice ground where he would famously spend days on end with coach, the late Bob Torrance, fashioning a swing to accompany his deadly accurate short game.
The three-time Walker Cup player turned professional in 1995 and has chalked up 14 European Tour victories plus several more worldwide.
In addition he has enjoyed huge success in the Ryder Cup, making six appearances, helping Europe to four wins– the last in 2010.
Harrington was also a vice captain to fellow Irishman Paul McGinley at Gleneagles and is widely touted as a future captain.
Away from the fairways he has been equally dedicated, establishing the Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation, becoming an ambassador for both the R&A and Special Olympics and also supporting a number of charities including the Oesophageal Cancer Fund and the 3Ts.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “Padraig is a golfer who inspires tremendous affection on the world stage, not just for his brilliant golf but for his dedication and passion and also for the way he conducts himself and which has made him hugely popular in the game.
“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 Padraig – he is a deserving winner and credit to the sport.”
Commenting on the award, Harrington said: “The PGA does outstanding work on behalf of its members and fulfils an important role in growing and promoting the game of golf for the benefit of all.
“It’s a real honour to receive the PGA Recognition Award from such a respected organisation and I am delighted that my career achievements have been recognised with this special distinction.”
The PGA lunch is an important fundraiser for the PGA’s Benevolent Fund which helps members who have fallen on difficult and hard times.