VIRGINIA WATER, England – Lee Westwood was voted as the European Tour's golfer of the year for 2020 on Monday, winning the award for the fourth time in his career after ending the season as the Race to Dubai champion at the age of 47.
Westwood started the 27th year of his professional career by winning the Abu Dhabi Championship to become the first active player to win a title across four separate decades.
He ended 2020 by being crowned the tour's No. 1 player for the third time – and 20 years after he first won what was formerly known as the Order of Merit title.
''I am very honored and extremely flattered to have been named European Tour's golfer of the year as I know the competition for the award this year would have been extremely high,'' said Westwood, who also won the accolade in 1998, 2000 and 2009.
Westwood praised the European Tour for putting on a full schedule this year in difficult times during the coronavirus pandemic. An elder statesman of the tour, the former top-ranked player played his part by hosting the British Masters in July – a tournament that marked the full resumption of the tour's 2020 season following a three-month stoppage.
''His performances and his professionalism are matched by his longevity and his commitment to European golf,'' the tour's CEO, Keith Pelley, said about Westwood. “For Lee to call shortly before our resumption and ask what he could do to help the tour is testament to the person and the player he is.
''To then go on to become the European Tour's No. 1 player for a third time, 20 years after he first achieved that accolade, was a storybook way to end this most challenging of years.''
Westwood recorded six straight top-20 finishes from the UK Championship in August to the Scottish Championship in October.
A panel comprising members of the golf media voted on the golfer of the year award.