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Harrington lands Europe's top golf award

  • Story Highlights
  • Ireland's Padraig Harrington named European Tour Golfer of the Year
  • Dubliner won British Open and U.S. PGA Championship this summer
  • Harrington also claimed honor in 2007 after winning first major at Carnoustie
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(CNN) -- Ireland's Padraig Harrington was named European Tour Golfer of the Year on Tuesday, reward for winning two majors in quick succession this summer to firmly establish himself as one of the top players in the world.

Harrington doubled up in the majors to land the prestigious award.

In a glorious three week spell in mid-summer, the 37-year-old Dubliner successfully defended British Open at Royal Birkdale -- the first European golfer to achieve the feat since Scotland's James Braid in 1905-06 -- before becoming the first European golfer since Scotland's Tommy Armour in 1930 to win the US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

Harrington, who also won the award last season, beat Sweden's Robert Karlsson to the accolade - voted for by a panel of leading golf writers and other European Tour media representatives.

Karlsson pipped Harrington to the European Order of Merit title at the final counting event of the 2008 season in Spain, but Harrington's stunning double in the majors was rated a greater achievement with many experts considering him to be the major challenger to currently sidelined Tiger Woods.

Karlsson sportingly agreed with the judges. "It was a long time ago that any European player won two major championships in a single season and, for that alone, there is no doubt that Padraig Harrington is the golfer of the year," he said.

The Irishman moves alongside Bernhard Langer and Lee Westwood as double winners of the award -- first presented in 1985 -- and joint fifth in the all-time list which is topped by Colin Montgomerie with four wins, followed by Severiano Ballesteros, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo with three wins apiece.

"When you look at the names of the people who have won The European Tour Golfer of the Year over the past 23 seasons, it certainly shows the standing of the award in the world of golf," said Harrington.

"It is very pleasing to be considered alongside these great players and also a great honor to have been voted ahead of some very fine contenders, not just this year, but last year as well. It has been a very strong couple of years for European golf which makes this achievement all the more memorable."

Harrington said he was looking ahead to the 2009 season and making his challenge for a third straight major in the U.S. Masters at Augusta next spring.

"When I come out next year I will be focused on getting my game ready for every week and building up for the Masters Tournament at Augusta National. I know the Masters will be the hardest major for me to win because of the attention that will be on me," he admitted.

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