Padraig Harrington, Hall of Famer Tom Watson, Ken Green and golf course architect Pete Dye have been honoured by the Golf Writers Association of America.
Watson, who underwent total hip replacement surgery in 2008 and just eight months later nearly became the oldest player to win a major championship at 59, and Green, who lost the lower part of his right leg in a horrific accident that claimed the lives of his brother and girlfriend, share the Ben Hogan Award. It is the first time in GWAA history there has been a tie for the award, given for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
Harrington was honoured with the ASAPSports/Jim Murray Award, which recognizes a golfer for cooperation, quotability and accommodation with the media, while Dye, who has designed some of the world’s most challenging courses, was honored with the William D. Richardson Award, given annually to recognize individuals who have consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf.
They will be honoured, along with GWAA Players of the Year Tiger Woods, Jiyai Shin and Loren Roberts at the Annual GWAA Awards Dinner, April 7 in Augusta, Georgia.
Harrington, the 2008 GWAA Male Player of the Year, once explained to friends that players owed it to to the game to be cooperative with media “because they have the toughest job.” He beat off competition from Steve Stricker and 2009 Open champ Stewart Cink for the award.
Past recipients of the Richardson Award, named for The New York Times’ William D. Richardson who was instrumental in the founding of the GWAA in 1946, include the Harmon Family, Furman Bisher, Louise Suggs, Judy Rankin, Nancy Lopez, Sandy Tatum, Dan Jenkins, Judy Bell, Babe Zaharias, Jack Nicklaus, Ely Callaway, Ben Hogan, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Harvey Penick, Peggy Kirk Bell, Frank Hannigan, Kathy Whitworth and Lee Trevino.