Westwood named Europe's Golfer of the Year for third time

Lee Westwood has won a third European Tour Golfer of the Year award.

The 36-year-old just missed out on The Open at Turnberry, but hit back to regain the European No 1 spot after a gap of nine years. Trailing Rory McIlroy going into the final week, Westwood claimed a brilliant six-stroke victory at the Dubai World Championship for a double jackpot worth £1.65m. He was also named Golfer of the Year in 1998 and 2000. The first of those came after a season in which he won four times in Europe, twice in Japan and once in America, while two years later he lifted seven titles and ended Colin Montgomerie's seven-year reign at the top of the Order of Merit. He joins Severiano Ballesteros, Ernie Els and Sir Nick Faldo as a three-time winner, while Montgomerie is the only player to have won the award on four occasions.

Westwood, who has climbed back to world No 4 after being outside the top 250 in 2002, said: "It is an honour and caps a wonderful season for me and all those who have helped me get to this position. This probably means more to me in recognising how I have fought my way back to the top."