Open Champion Francesco Molinari has been named European Tour Golfer of the Year.
The 36-year-old Italian was a hero of Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the United States at Le Golf National in September.
Molinari also won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, holding off Rory McIlroy to secure victory.
But it was his triumph two months later at Carnoustie that set him apart from his other European Tour rivals.
Molinari was the first player from the home team to win all five matches in the Ryder Cup.
He was unflappably immaculate in a bogey-free final round 69 as he repelled a high quality chasing pack that included playing partner Tiger Woods, McIlroy, Justin Rose and US star Xander Schauffele.
After claiming that first major title, Molinari went on to secure the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title to cap the best year of his career.
“It is a huge honour to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year,” he said.
“So many great names have earned this honour and I feel very proud to join them.
“It is an award that means a lot to me and is a nice way to end a very special year. Winning at Wentworth, in one of our biggest events, gave me a lot of confidence for the summer.”
“But obviously winning the Open at Carnoustie, becoming my country’s first major champion, was incredible.
“To then go on to win the Race to Dubai and be part of that European Ryder Cup team in France was amazing. I’ll always look back on this season and be proud of what happened.”
European Tour Chief Executive, Keith Pelley, said: “It is right that we pay special tribute to Francesco Molinari who repeatedly made history this year.
“Francesco is not just a phenomenal golfer, he is a wonderful person too and throughout this season he consistently reminded us what a magnificent ambassador he is for our game.”