Graeme McDowell added yet another piece of silverware to his heaving mantelpiece today when he landed the 2010 Golf Writers’ Trophy.
But after joining Irish legends Joe Carr, Harry Bradshaw, Christy O’Connor Snr and Padraig Harrington as a winner of the annual Association of Golf Writers poll, the Ulsterman confessed that he has no intention of trying to top his dream season in 2011.
McDowell said: “I will have the same attitude in 2011 as I did in 2010, to work hard and to try and win some tournaments.
“How I perform will all be heavily scrutinised and that is understandable but I’ll never try and compare it to 2010.
“I’m very aware of the pitfalls, complacency, expectation levels, really trying to change my game now that I’m a major champion and in the top-10 in the world.
“I’m looking forward to it and I know I have a huge amount of room for improvement, particularly in and around the greens and just sharpening up my whole game generally.”
McDowell is the first player from Northern Ireland to win an award that was first presented in 1951.
The Portrush man, 31, made history at Pebble Beach by becoming the first European winner of the US Open since Tony Jacklin 40 years ago.
He overcame massive pressure at Celtic Manor to clinch the winning point at the Ryder Cup. But he also won the Wales Open at Celtic Manor, the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama and the Chevron World Challenge by beating host Tiger Woods in a playoff just over a week ago.
The Ulster dynamo had such an outstanding season that he pushed the European Ryder Cup team into second place in the voting with US PGA and Race to Dubai winner Martin Kaymer finishing third and newly crowned world No 1, Lee Westwood, fourth.
Still pinching himself after a dream season, McDowell said: “I am hugely honoured to win such a prestigious award and especially in a year when European golf as a whole has achieved such amazing things.
“To win a major championship and to hole the winning putt in the Ryder Cup, these are absolute, ultimate golfing dreams for me.
“It has definitely been a life-changing experience the last few months and I feel incredibly lucky. I can’t get my head around it for sure now but I feel very fortunate and privileged that I’ve had the opportunity.
“Every golfer wants to win majors but the Ryder Cup was another stratosphere, trying to win it not just for me but for 11 team-mates, for Colin, for all those fans, for Europe. I have never been so nervous.
“That 16th hole, they were the three greatest shots of my career. Under that pressure, it was an amazing feeling. Particularly, as I was told on the fairway, before I hit my second shot, that a half-point would not be enough and that I needed to win the match.
“It’s been a phenomenal few years for European golf in general, and in particular British and Irish golf.
“Look at the number of players at the top of the world rankings and, of course, right at the top is Lee, the No 1. He has been our most consistent player the last few years.
“He has worked extremely hard and thoroughly deserves to be up there. It has given all of us the belief that one day we may also reach that top spot.”
PAST WINNERS OF THE GOLF WRITERS’ TROPHY
2010 – Graeme McDowell
2009 – Lee Westwood
2008 – Padraig Harrington
2007 – Padraig Harrington
2006 – Ryder Cup team (I Woosnam, c)
2005 – Annika Sorenstam
2004 – Ryder Cup team (B Langer, c)
2003 – Annika Sorenstam
2002 – Ryder Cup team (S Torrance, c)
2001 – Walker Cup team (P McEvoy, c)
2000 – Lee Westwood
1999 – Sergio Garcia
1998 – Lee Westwood
1997 – Alison Nicholas
1996 – Colin Montgomerie
1995 – Ryder Cup team (B Gallacher, c)
1994 – Laura Davies
1993 – Bernhard Langer
1992 – Solheim Cup team (M Walker, c)
1991 – Severiano Ballesteros
1990 – Nick Faldo
1989 – Walker Cup team (G Marks, c)
1988 – Sandy Lyle
1987 – Ryder Cup team (T Jacklin, c)
1986 – Curtis Cup team (D Bailey, c)
1985 – Ryder Cup team (T Jacklin, c)
1984 – Severiano Ballesteros
1983 – Nick Faldo
1982 – Gordon Brand Jnr
1981 – Bernhard Langer
1980 – Sandy Lyle
1979 – Severiano Ballesteros
1978 – Peter McEvoy
1977 – Christy O’Connor Sen.
1976 – Eisenhower Trophy team (S Saddler, c)
1975 – The Golf Foundation
1974 – Peter Oosterhuis
1973 – Peter Oosterhuis
1972 – Mickey Walker
1971 – Walker Cup team (M Bonallack, c)
1970 – Tony Jacklin
1969 – Tony Jacklin
1968 – Michael Bonallack
1967 – John Panton
1966 – Ronnie Shade
1965 – Gerald Micklem
1964 – Eisenhower Trophy team (J Carr, c)
1963 – Michael Lunt
1962 – Marley Spearman
1961 – Cdr. RCT Roe
1960 – Sir Stuart Goodwin
1959 – Eric Brown
1958 – Harry Bradshaw
1957 – Dai Rees
1956 – John Beharrell
1955 – LGU Junior team (B Bostock, c)
1954 – Frances Stephens
1953 – Joe Carr
1952 – Miss Elizabeth Price
1951 – Max Faulkner