Cape Town – Tommy Fleetwood has been awarded the Seve Ballesteros Award – formerly the Players’ Player Award – winning the 2017 vote by his fellow professionals at the end of a superb European Tour season in which he claimed the Race to Dubai.
The award is voted for by European Tour members and carries the name of the legendary Spaniard, who remains one of golf’s most inspirational icons and will always be considered one of the European Tour’s greatest ever ambassadors.
Fleetwood started the season by clinching his second European Tour title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship ahead of a star-studded field, and continued his good form in the weeks to follow with runner-up finishes at the WGC-Mexico Championship and Shenzhen International.
It was an impressive one shot victory at the Open de France in July – the second Rolex Series event of the year – which had the 26 year old marching towards his best season yet on the European Tour.
Fleetwood was in contention for his first Major win at the US Open at Erin Hills, eventually securing a fourth place finish.
He then went on to add his name to the history books, carding a course record 63 on the formidable Carnoustie during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
It would be a year to remember for Fleetwood as he broke inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career.
He produced ten top-ten finishes overall to see him sit 256 737 points ahead of his fellow Englishman Justin Rose going into the season-end DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Fleetwood finished tied 21st at Jumeriah Golf Estates in November, and in doing so, became the first Englishman since Luke Donald in 2011 to win the Race to Dubai Rankings and signed off the year as European No 1.
His accomplishments were recognised by his peers, and he was presented with the Seve Ballesteros award by European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and Tournament Committee chairperson David Howell during his media conference at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, as he prepared to defend the title.
“Winning the Seve Ballesteros award has actually made me the most emotional out of all the things I’ve won,” said Fleetwood.
“It is voted for by the players and for me there’s still so many guys that when I come out, I was looking up to and you watch people on the range and you try to learn from them.
“I’ve made a lot of friends, and I think for people to vote for me as Players’ Player of the Year is just something else. It’s different to anything I’ve achieved before. It’s a very flattering and very humbling.”
The Seve Ballesteros Award – an impressive silver and gold circular plate 46cm in diameter – has the names of all the European Tour members who have won Major Championships, starting with Seve’s own Open triumph at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1979.
Javier Ballesteros, Seve’s eldest son, said: “It is great to see Tommy Fleetwood receiving the Players’ Player of the Year Award, now the Seve Ballesteros Award, in honour to our father. He’s had a sensational year, not just because he has won twice but mainly for his consistency and the way he has played all season. My brothers, Miguel and Carmen, and I are delighted, we think he is a great competitor who has also achieved the recognition of his fellow professionals.”
It also has the names of all the previous winners of the European Tour Players’ Player of the Year award inscribed around the outer circle, those being:
Padraig Harrington (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010), Rory McIlroy (2011, 2014 and 2015), Luke Donald (2012), and Henrik Stenson (2013, 2016).
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