Justin Rose: My AGW golfer of the Year

And the Association of Golfer Writers 2020 Golfer of the year is …. Justin Rose.

I hope so.

Lee Westwood has just been handed the honour of European Tour Golfer of the Year for the fourth time in his career. I would have voted for Justin Rose for that honour had I been on the panel, with special mention for better half Kate.

I’ll be putting Justin as my number one pick in the subsequent AGW 2020 Golf of the Year ballot, ahead Westwood and Sophia Popov.

From a playing perspective, there’s no doubt Westwood’s worthy of player of the year award. What he’s done on the fairways this year has been remarkable, especially for a 47 year old. I said as much when he actually won the Race to Dubai.

As you can gather from recent blogs, I think Popov has been treated highly unfairly this year after her fairy-tale AIG Women’s British Open victory at Royal Troon, the story of the year so far for me. She’ll make my top three in the AGW ballot.

The Association of Golf Writers will probably follow the European Tour voting panel and elect Westwood as AGW 2020 Golfer of the year, too. However, I’ll be voting for Rose considering the award historically goes to…

“…to the team, person or persons, resident or born in Europe, who, in the opinion of a majority of the members, have made the most outstanding contribution to golf during 2020 proper.”

Rose’s play this year hasn’t met his or his fans’ expectations. Second in the SMBC Singapore Open at the start of the year is Rose’s best 2020 finish. He was T3 in the Charles Schwab Challenge and ninth in the PGA Championship. Three top 10s isn’t what you expect from a player of Rose's calibre.

Who cares this year?

What Justin and Kate did off the fairways this year was arguably "the most outstanding contribution to golf during 2020 proper." They forked out their own money when they heard of a campaign to help women professionals play tournament golf this summer. Thus, the Rose Ladies Series was born.

That string of tournaments was a wee lifeline for Ladies European Tour players facing weeks without competitive play.

Ladies European Tour professional Liz Young and Brokenhurst head professional Jason McNiven deserve special mention for coming up with the idea. However, it’s fair to say the mini-series might have struggled to get off the ground, or received TV coverage from Sky, if not for Roses taking an interest. Indeed, the concept took off as soon as they became involved, as Young acknowledged at the time.

“Thanks to Justin, Kate and his team, our dream has come true… in a week!”

Rose isn’t the first golfer to do his bit to help our game. Paul Lawrie, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Stephen Gallacher are just some of the many names who do their bit behind the scenes to help grow the game, nurture talent, raise money for charity, etc. That spirit of generosity is a wonderful aspect of our game, one that is much underreported.

What Justin and Kate Rose did this year was a fantastic gesture for women’s golf. Justin Rose gets my vote as AGW Golfer of the Year for an outstanding contribution to our game in the most troubling of years. I hope many of my AGW colleagues agree.

#JustSaying: “I can’t thank Justin and Kate enough for coming on board, creating opportunities and increasing the visibility for professional women golfers.” Liz Young


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