A NEW annual award will for the first time see Australia’s best professional golfer honoured with a medal to be named after Greg Norman.
The PGA of Australia launched the initiative Monday saying golf would finally join other national sports in recognising the year’s best performer on the world stage.
The initial awarding of the “Greg Norman Medal” to the best male or female professional golfer of 2015 will take place at a gala awards night in December as part of the Australian PGA Championship week on the Gold Coast.
The winner will be determined based on annual success on the Australian and International stage including all Professional tours such as the LPGA, ALPG & Ladies European Tour, and the (men’s) PGA Tour (America or Australasia), the European Tour and other Tours around the world, including those in Asia.
Unless Jordan Spieth changes citizenship in the meantime, (and probably even then) we’re tipping the 2015 award will go to US PGA Championship winner Jason Day.
Day isn’t due to come back home from the US this year, but maybe this award could get him rethinking his commitments. (But then of course there are video links.)
PGA of Australia Chief Executive Brian Thorburn said the award would at long last provide Australian golf with an opportunity to celebrate its key player’s success on the world stage.
“Australia’s athletes excel on the global sporting stage and in most sports we celebrate the success of our athletes on that stage. Whether it’s the Olympic Games, World Cups in Cricket, Soccer, the Rugby codes or Netball; or domestic sports such as the AFL, we recognise the champions who put Australia on that world stage and who excel in their chosen sport,” he said.
“Our sport of golf has generated many, many stars on the world stage from Norman Von Nida, Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Greg Norman, Adam Scott and more recently Jason Day, and on the female side from Jan Stephenson, Jane Crafter, Karrie Webb to name just a few.”
“But golf in Australia has never recognized the best of the best of our Australian Professional golfers through an annual award – until now,” Thorburn said.
“Greg Norman was the obvious stand out choice to name this award after. A World Golf Hall of Famer, a life member of the PGA and a recipient of the Order of Australia, Greg Norman is synonymous with the highest levels of golfing achievement.”
“Not only was he number one for 331 weeks, a two time major winner and a winner 20 times on the PGA Tour, he also won 31 times on our own PGA Tour of Australasia and put Australian Golf on the world map. “He has been a staunch supporter of the PGA of Australia and local golf for many years,’ he said.
Norman said it was an honour to have the award named after him.
“I am deeply grateful and honoured to have this prestigious award named after me, which will hold a place of pride and prominence in my heart,” he said.
“Australian golf is in a great place right now, and I hope the young players out representing our country are inspired that hard work and perseverance can lead you to great things. My dream is to see others go on and achieve even more than I did.”
To be awarded in co-operation with the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, APLG CEO Karen Lunn said, “The ALPG is delighted to support the PGA in the establishment of the Greg Norman Medal and thrilled that our Female Members will contend for such a prestigious recognition of international achievement”
The award will be judged by a five-member panel of current or former Professional golfers and chaired by PGA Vice Chairman Peter O’Malley and supported by PGA Director & tournament player Michael Long.
PGA Life Members and legends of our game, Ian Baker-Finch and Graham Marsh along with ALPG legend Jane Crafter will complete the panel.
The inaugural award for 2015 will be announced at the Greg Norman Medal Dinner, to be held on Tuesday night, the 1st of December, prior to the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast, with the gala night to play host to golf’s best and brightest.
The Australian PGA Championship, the richest tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia, will be played at the RACV Royal Pines Resort from the 3 – 6 December 2015 and is expected to attract a number of the world’s best players with the prize fund increasing to AU$1.75M this year and a new co-sanctioning agreement with The European Tour.
The Championship will also provide visitors the chance to view the $10million completed upgrade to the RACV Royal Pines Resort layout, designed by Graham Marsh