PARNELL Reilly was in Dublin this week to present Padraig Harrington with his second Ryle Memorial Medal in recognition of the Irish star’s successful defence of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale last July.
The medal was presented to the Irishman in a private ceremony by Reilly, (below), the Bradley Park head professional’s last major duty of his two year term as captain of the PGA which he completes next month.
The Ryle Medal has been awarded since 1920 to the winner of the Open if they are a member of the PGA. It is only the second time it has been awarded since the new Millennium, with Harrington the recipient both times.
As a two-time winner he joins a distinguished group of multiple winners of the medal including Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player, Peter Thomson, Bobby Locke and Henry Cotton.
On receiving the award Harrington said: “It was a great honour to receive the Ryle Memorial Medal once but to get it twice is an incredible achievement.
“To be in the same company of some of golf’s greatest players is something I am truly in awe of.”
The medal was given to the PGA by the Ryle family in memory of their father Arthur, a golfing enthusiast and past captain of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club, who had been killed on active service in the First World War in 1915.
On handing Harrington the medal, Reilly said: “Padraig’s tremendous performance over Birkdale’s closing holes last July made for some very special viewing for so many golf fans around the world both there and on television and it certainly confirmed Padraig’s presence as one of golf’s greatest players in the modern era.
“Having also had the privilege and pleasure of meeting him on a number of occasions over the past couple of years I would also like to pay tribute to him for being a great ambassador for the sport.
“Two years ago my first duty as PGA captain was to present John Jacobs with honorary Master Professional status and it’s fitting that my last duty as captain is another presentation to a giant of the modern era in Padraig.”