The Confederation of Professional Golfers (CPG) issued awards for two of European golf’s leading figures, as well as The R&A Women in Golf Charter at its annual awards.
Tony Bennett, President of the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA), received the Special Recognition Award for his outstanding career in the sport.
Originally beginning as a playing professional, Bennett’s career has spanned five decades in golf with his resumé including roles as a club professional, golf course owner, National Coach and Director of Education and Membership for the PGAs of Europe.
He is the Head of Disability and Inclusion for the International Golf Federation, sitting alongside his role at EDGA.
“It is very humbling to be granted such an award, especially when you see the list of previous winners,” said Bennett. “I have been very fortunate to have spent a lifetime in golf and there are a lot of people who have helped me on this journey.”
“Outstanding is the only word to describe Tony’s list of achievements and contribution to the golf industry,” said CPG Chief Executive, Ian Randell. “Tony’s impact on the game and CPG have been guided by his determination to truly make a difference.
“He has been part of our Association as both a volunteer and a member of staff for several decades, where his vision and expertise has been pivotal in shaping our education framework, not least through the European Education Level System (EELS), as well as guiding our membership and helping to elevate our position as leaders in the provision of golf development expertise around the globe. We are delighted to be able to thank him with this award as he continues to drive progress in our sport.”
Former longstanding Chief Executive of the PGA of Sweden and CPG Board Member Mikael Sorling was awarded the Christer Lindberg Bowl for his significant work, development and vision in shaping professional golf in his native Sweden and internationally.
One of his most significant achievements, the signing of a ground-breaking collaborative agreement between the PGA of Sweden and Swedish Golf Federation, led to his subsequent appointment as Chief Executive of the PGA of Sweden, where he served for 22 years until his retirement in 2019.
He also held board member positions with the PGAs of Europe and Ryder Cup Europe during this time.
“As a trainee, Christer Lindberg took me under his wing, guided me and taught me so much. To be nominated for this award, that is named after my predecessor is wonderful,” said Sorling.
Ian Randell said: “Mikael has been a great ambassador for our sport and can be so proud of the impact that he has had on the development of golf, both domestically in Sweden and internationally through his leadership within the PGAs of Europe and involvement for many years with Ryder Cup Europe. In 2011 his achievements as a PGA Professional were recognised with the 5-Star Professional Award and it is fitting that we should now also celebrate his significant contributions with this prestigious award.”
The CPG President’s Award for Golf Development was awarded to The R&A Women in Golf Charter, a global initiative that has gained significant support and momentum with over 50 Federations, 30 Organisations and PGAs and numerous golf facilities creating their own pledge to further the women’s game.
The award, which recognises outstanding golf development programmes, initiatives and grassroots projects, was received by The R&A’s Assistant Director of Golf Development Jackie Davidson.
Davidson said: “On behalf of The R&A, I would like to say thank you very much to the CPG for this award. We all recognise that change needs to happen in golf, and perhaps one of the key areas where we are improving opportunity is around women and girls.”
Ian Randell said: “The R&A’s leadership is so important in driving change in our sport to ensure that it becomes more accessible, appealing and inclusive and we congratulate them on this initiative. It is a great example of how golf’s national and international organisations are increasing collaboration by collectively getting behind significant initiatives and programmes around the globe.
“Having made our own Women in Golf pledge at the time of launch and encouraged our Member PGAs to do likewise, we recognise the importance of the Charter, and support its goal of encouraging women across all levels and backgrounds to enjoy golf and thrive within the sport.”