Jason Day wins Greg Norman Medal
BY BRENDAN JAMES
US PGA Champion Jason Day has won the inaugural Greg Norman Medal at a glittering awards ceremony on the Gold Coast.
The 28-year-old accepted the award via video link from his home in the United States, where he is with his wife, Ellie, who gave birth to their second child last month.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to win the Greg Norman Medal, it caps off an amazing year,” Day said.
“I’d like to thank the PGA of Australia for launching this medal with Greg Norman and their support over the past 10 years.
“IT has been an amazing run for me.”
As she had done in October in accepting The Don Award at the Australian Sports Hall of Fame, Day’s mother, Dening, accepted the medal from Greg Norman on her son’s behalf.
Day paid tribute to Norman, who had his right arm in a sling after a second shoulder reconstruction, saying “if it wasn’t for you … you shaped the player I am today.”
Noman fired back …”I want you to be World No.1 for 332 weeks.”
Day thanked his mum for her support and apologised for not being able to attend and added he was looking forward to coming back to Australia next year.
Day had a stellar year by anyone’s standards, recording his first win at the Farmers Insurance Open before going on to notch up a further four victories. However by far the standout achievement of his year was claiming his first Major title, the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which helped him to become the No.1 player in the world … a dream he had set as a 13-year-old.
In addition to his PGA Championship victory he finished T4 at The Open and T9 at the US Open and finished third on the FedEx Cup. He was also the highest ranked qualifier for the International Team at The Presidents Cup.
Day beat out a strong field of nominees including Adam Scott, Jason Day, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman, Steve Bowditch, Minjee Lee, Rebecca Artis and Karrie Webb.
The nominees were selected by a panel of five including PGA Vice Chairman Peter O’Malley, PGA Director Michael Long, PGA Life Member, former Open Champion and Australian Olympic Golf Team Leader Ian Baker-Finch, PGA Life Member and former PGA TOUR winner Graham Marsh and ALPG legend, Jane Crafter.
Norman provided input during the selection process of each nominee.
Leukaemia survivor Jarrod Lyle received a special award from the US PGA Tour for his bravery in defeating the disease for a second time.
Fighting back tears, Lyle accepted the PGA Tour Courage Award, from Ian Baker-Finch, as well as a $25,000 charitable donation, which he has passed on to Challenge, who support kids fighting cancer.
The Victorian is on a PGA Tour medical exemption and will play in this week’s Australian PGA Championship.
Other award winners at the ceremony included:
2014 NATIONAL PGA TRAINEE OF THE YEAR:
Mark Alison (Assistant Director of Golf Pacific Dunes, NSW)
2015 NATIONAL PGA TRAINEE OF THE YEAR:
Rick Coleman (Caboolture GC, Qld)
2015 PGA NATIONAL CLUB PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR:
Joint winners – Ian Pritchard (Mt Osmond GC, SA); Richard Caiolfa (Rich River Resort, Victoria)
2015 PGA NATIONAL TEACHING PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR:
Stuart Leong (Albert Park Driving Range, Victoria).
2015 ALPG PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Su Oh (Victoria).
2015 PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Matt Millar (ACT).