Scotland’s most successful female professional golfer, Catriona Matthew, received a standing ovation from a sell-out crowd at the Annodata Scottish Golf Awards after becoming the first female recipient of the Lifetime Achievement honour.
A star-studded audience of over 650 guests assembled in Edinburgh to recognise the achievements of golfers at all levels of the game, concluding with the ex-Ricoh Women’s British Open winner and Solheim Cup stalwart entering the nation’s golfing ‘Hall of Fame’.
Receiving her award from former European Solheim Cup captain Alison Nicholas, Catriona follows past Lifetime winners Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle and Bernard Gallacher, on a night of celebration and fundraising for the Scottish Golf Charity and On Course Foundation.
Matthew, seeking to achieve another career milestone by representing Team GB at the Olympics in Rio this August, said: “I’m thrilled to receive this award. Lifetime Achievement makes me feel as though I’m getting towards the end of my career, and I’m absolutely delighted and very honoured, but as long as I’m enjoying it and playing well, I will still be out there.”
The 46-year-old from North Berwick, who has racked up 11 professional wins and achieved over 100 top-10s on the LPGA circuit, added: “It’s difficult to pick one highlight, but I think winning the Ricoh Women’s British Open (at Royal Lytham in 2009), having my husband, Graeme, caddying for me that week, 10 weeks after having my second child, was obviously a huge highlight.”
The coveted Player of the Year Award was won by US-based Russell Knox after he became the first Scot to win a World Golf Championship event in China last November, an honour accepted by his radio DJ sister, Diane, who co-hosted the event with broadcaster and Deacon Blue drummer, Dougie Vipond.
The Scotland football manager, Gordon Strachan, presented Knox’s award, with other star guests on the night including Tour players Richie Ramsay, Gemma Dryburgh and Kelsey MacDonald, legendary former European Tour starter Ivor Robson – who collected Rickie Fowler’s Shot of the Year for his winning wedge to the 18th at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane – rugby duo Nathan Hines and Andy Nicol and Eve Muirhead’s World Championship-bound curling team.
Walker Cup-winning captain Nigel Edwards and three Scots members of his record-breaking side, Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest and Jack McDonald, were also in attendance to collect the Team of the Year prize, while Nairn Dunbar’s David Torrance– who nurtured Knox in his younger days and has developed both the Boys Order of Merit and Adam Hunter award winner Sandy Scott and Men’s Order of Merit winner Kyle Godsman – won the Coach of the Year honour.
At the grassroots level, Prestonfield’s remarkable work with young golfers in Edinburgh was rewarded with the ClubGolf Junior Club of the Year, with Haddington captain David Drew ensuring a Lothians’ double by winning the Volunteer of the Year. The Inspiration award was emotionally won by David Sneddon, a former army commander who has found a new life in golf at Kingsfield Golf Centre since having his leg amputated, while the inaugural Club Manager of the Year was won by Crail Golfing Society’s David Roy.
Guests had the chance to have photographs taken with iconic trophies, including the Solheim and Walker Cup, and win fantastic golfing prizes in the fundraising auction and prize draw, including a team in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pro-Am, Open Championship hospitality at Royal Troon and a trip to this year’s Ryder Cup.