Paul McGinley has followed in the footsteps of some illustrious past Ryder Cup captains by receiving the PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf.
Europe’s skipper for the 2014 matches at Gleneagles received the accolade at The PGA’s annual fundraising lunch at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Friday (December 20).
McGinley has been a stalwart performer on the course since winning the Irish Amateur Championship in 1989, going on to become a four-time European Tour winner and member of three successive victorious Ryder Cup teams including sinking the decisive putt at The Belfry in 2002.
The popular Irishman joins fellow Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance, Sir Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal who have all received the PGA award.
“I am very humbled to be honoured in this way, particularly as it’s from my peers, PGA Professionals,” said McGinley.
“I will endeavour to represent the European Tour and PGA to the best of my abilities, both in terms of the Ryder Cup next year and onwards.”
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones paid tribute to McGinley who is gearing up for one of the most demanding years of his career as he bids to retain the trophy won in such dramatic fashion at Medinah by Olazabal’s 2012 team.
“Paul has been a great ambassador for golf both as a leading player and also as a key part of three victorious Ryder Cup teams,” said Jones.
“As the incoming Ryder Cup captain, and past assistant captain, Paul certainly deserves this award and there is no-one in Europe who doesn’t think he will be a great captain and all believe he will have success at Gleneagles.
“But the award is not just about his playing achievements it also reflects his wider contribution to golf.
“Paul stands out as someone who gives back as much as he takes from the sport, which is evidenced by his own charitable trust where he supports a number of worthwhile causes so The PGA is delighted to recognise him with this award.”
McGinley’s foundation supports several charities including Amber, CLICK Sargent, The Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Tour Players Foundation.
The 47-year-old picked up his award in front of 1,100 guests in the Great Hall including past Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher.
The Scot was a special guest in the week he and his wife Lesley launched a nationwide campaign to install a defibrillator in every golf club in the UK following his recent brush with death when he was taken ill in August.
As part of the campaign, leading heart charity, Arrhythmia Alliance, which is supporting the Gallachers in their aim to raise awareness of cardiac arrest, donated three of the life-saving defibrillator devices which were raffled off in a business card draw to be given to the chosen golf clubs of the winners.
The PGA’s chief executive Sandy Jones presented a cheque for £10,000 to Arrhythmia Alliance senior associate Caroline Holmes.
In addition The PGA also presented the Golf Foundation with a cheque for £95,000 to underline its support for growing the game at grass roots level while the lunch also raised money for the Association’s Benevolent Fund which helps PGA members who have fallen on difficult times.