Valhalla Golf Club
Ian Woosnam (left) receives the Tour Professional of the Year award from John Jermine, Chairman of Ryder Cup Wales.

Favorite son Ian Woosnam honoured in Wales

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Ian Woosnam, Welsh ambassador in the run-up to The 2010 Ryder Cup, was among the winners at The Ryder Cup Wales annual gala dinner and awards, sponsored by CCV in conjunction with the Golf Union of Wales, recently held at The Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort.

The evening's highlights included a 'Woosie' question-and-answer session, hosted by Ieuan Evans, during which the victorious 2006 Ryder Cup captain shared stories from his phenomenal career and his thoughts on 2010 and the future prospects for Welsh golf.

Woosnam was named Tour Professional of the Year for his achievements in 2008, which included winning the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship and the Russian Seniors Open, as well as making the cut in The Masters Tournament.

He was also runner-up in the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open and Casa Serena Seniors Open, and finished the season top of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, making history as the first player to top the Orders of Merit on both The European Tour and Senior Tour.

Presenting Woosnam with his award, John Jermine, Chairman of Ryder Cup Wales, said: "As the next host to The Ryder Cup, we are working hard to build our international profile and in establishing Wales as a must-visit golfing destination, offering great courses and the best value for money in Europe.

"The Golf Union of Wales is highly motivated to attract new players to our wonderful game and to improve the golfing standards of players and clubs throughout Wales. The winners of the awards, sponsored by CCV, are great role models for the rest of Wales."

Twenty-year-old Breanne Loucks, of Wrexham, was named Amateur Player of the Year, while the Golf Club of the Year went to Aberdovey, which has made tremendous improvements with new IT systems, and other developments including significant improvements to the course, which have kept the club in the UK's top 50 courses.

Darren Griffiths of Glyn Abbey Golf Club was named Golf Development Wales (GDW) Professional of the Year as an excellent example of a PGA professional who understands the benefits of doing fundamental work at grass roots level.

Wales's First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, who was present at the annual awards dinner, said: "I would like to congratulate all four winners on their achievements at these awards and in realising that quality is key to success. The eyes of the world will be on Wales in 2010 and a huge amount of work is being done to ensure that not only The Celtic Manor Resort, but Wales as a whole, is ready to host this great sporting contest."