London: Briton Lee Westwood has been named the European Tour`s golfer of the year after a season which ended with him being crowned European number one for the second time in his career.
The 36-year-old Englishman`s chances of becoming European number one again had looked remote when he plummeted to 246th in the world following his order of merit win in 2000.
"It is a fantastic honour and caps a wonderful season for me and all those who have helped me get to this position," said Westwood, who has been European Tour golfer of the year twice before, in 1998 and 2000, and joins Severiano Ballesteros, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo as a three-time winner.
"This probably means more to me in recognising how I have fought my way back to the top."
At one point, eight years ago, Westwood contemplated giving up golf.
However, he completed his return to the top in Europe by producing a breathtaking finish to the season in which he clinched top place in the Race to Dubai (money-list) with victory in last month`s Dubai World Championship.
Westwood, one of the most successful Ryder Cup players, went into the tour`s elite season-ending event trailing Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai, knowing that only victory could ensure he again won the Harry Vardon Trophy.
With the 20-year-old McIlroy exerting pressure all week and finishing third in the Dubai World Championship, Westwood could not afford to put a foot wrong.
A final-round eight-under-par 64 over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates allowed him to clinch a six-stroke victory for his 20th European Tour title.
Westwood also won the Portugal Masters to earn record seasonal winnings of 4,237,762 euro and recorded 11 top-10 finishes from 13 events after the June U.S. Open.
He finished joint third in the British Open Championship at Turnberry, where he was within a putt of making the play-off with Stewart Cink and Tom Watson, and had a similar result in the U.S. PGA Championship at Hazeltine.