Graeme McDowell has been named 2010 RTE Sportsperson of the Year. RTE, whose full name is Raidio Teilifís Eireann, is Ireland’s national radio and television company, essentially, the Irish version of Great Britain’s BBC.
The native of Portrush, Northern Ireland, picked up the award after a stunning year that saw him win the U.S. Open and earn the winning point as Europe captured the Ryder Cup.
McDowell also won the Wales Open and the Andalucia Masters on the European Tour and ended the year with victory in the Chevron World Challenge in the United States, where he will play more golf in 2011 after taking up membership of the PGA Tour.
The award from the Irish broadcasters helped make up for the disappointment of losing out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award last weekend, when he, Rory McIlroy and the European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie all split the vote.
McDowell finished only fifth in that poll, which was won by jockey Tony McCoy.
DONALD MAKES LIGHT WORK OF SAND: Luke Donald proved himself the undisputed king of the bunkers this year.
After getting up and down from sand more often than anybody else in America for the second year in a row, Donald has pipped Ian Poulter for the same award on the European Tour. His average there was 73.9 percent compared to Poulter's 73.7, while in the United States he was a clear winner with a 66.4 percent success rate.
Donald also came out on top in Europe in scrambling (saving par from off the green) and putting, while Poulter hit more greens in regulation than anybody.
The circuit's longest driver was Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts with an average of nearly 308 yards, while Australian Peter O'Malley found the most fairways for the third time in four years.
Every player will say the most important category, however, is stroke average, and it was no surprise to find leading money-winner Martin Kaymer out in front there too with 70.04 shots per round.
COWEN TAKES TOP COACH AWARD: Pete Cowen, coach of world No. 1 Lee Westwood, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, has been named UK Coach of the Year at the 2010 UK Coaching Awards.
At a ceremony in London, Cowen was also named High-performance Coach of the Year.
England cricket coach Andy Flower and Great Britain boxing performance director Rob McCracken were also in contention for the high-performance award.
Cricket coach Jack Birkenshaw won the lifetime achievement award.
Also on the short list for that were Elfyn Pugh from rugby union and Betty Gray from table tennis. Pugh has coached in the West Midlands and Staffordshire for over 40 years, while Gray continues to coach in Swansea at the age of 90.