European Tour award for Singh


GOLF DIGEST/European Player of Year: Vijay Singh has been named European Tour golfer of the year for the first time. Singh did not win a tournament on European soil but topped the US money list with record earnings of more than $10 million and nine victories, including the USPGA championship.

The Fijian, who also replaced Tiger Woods as world number one, said: "It is a wonderful honour. This accolade completes a very special double for me after winning the player of the year award in the United States only last week."

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, who won four European tournaments on the 2004 calendar, was second in the vote taken by European golf writers. He also helped Europe win the Ryder Cup against the US.

GRANTS: It was another successful year for the Team Ireland Golf Trust, a funding programme set up by the Irish Sports Council to offer financial assistance to aspiring professional golfers, reports John O'Sullivan.

The aim of the trust, which paid out 252,000 in 2004 to golfers, was to build on the achievements of Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy and Damian McGrane who enjoyed success on the fairways in 2003.

The last 12 months have proved another qualified triumph with Stephen Browne winning his European Tour card at the qualifying school and Hazel Kavanagh and Rebecca Coakley managing similar success at the women's equivalent.