Stephanie Meadow first female winner of Irish Golf Writers' Professional award
STEPHANIE Meadow has made history by becoming the first female to be named ‘Professional Golfer of the Year’ by the Irish Golf Writers' Association.
Originally from Jordanstown, Co Antrim, the 26-year-old has battled back from adversity to regain her LPGA Tour card for next season and those efforts have been recognised by the golfing media.
“I am so honoured and so humbled to have won the Professional Golfer of the Year,” Meadow told the IGWA.
“I was knocked on my face a little bit last year and to come out and have such a great season and to top it off by being recognised as the Professional Golfer of the Year is truly remarkable.
“I have a lot of people to thank, because it is not just me who got me here. To the ILGU. Girls golf has come a long way in the last 10 years and to win this award on behalf of them is unbelievable. Their training programmes have made me the golfer I am today.
“I have a lot of people in my corner who I would like to thank. My coaches, my sports psychologist, my fitness trainer who made me healthy again and my family and close friends, who picked me up this past year and got me through it.”
Meadow secured nine Top 10 finishes on the second tier Symetra Tour, including one victory, finishing 6th in the Order of Merit to secure her return to the top flight of ladies golf.
Stephanie is one of five ambassadors in the ‘20x20 (20% by 2020) campaign’, seeking:
• a 20% increase in media coverage of women in sport
• a 20% increase in female participation at all levels of sport
• a 20% increase in attendance at women’s games and events
Presented by the Federation of Irish Sport, and originated and developed by the creative agency ‘Along Came A Spider’, 20x20 is setting out to create a measurable cultural shift in the perception of women’s sport so that it will be seen as something strong, valuable and worth celebrating.
The campaign, championed by Ireland’s national governing bodies of sport and Local Sports Partnerships, and sponsored by AIG, Investec, KPMG, Lidl, and Three, is calling on the people of Ireland and all those involved in Irish sport and physical activity to get behind female sport in a concerted effort to increase media coverage, boost attendances and ultimately, increase involvement in female sport and physical activity by 20% by the end of 2020.
One of the key campaign messages, is the importance of parents’ support of girls in sport. Stephanie spoke about this, particularly the importance of her late father Robert:
“This is close to my heart as my Dad and Mum were the most influential forces in me being able to realise my dreams as a professional golfer.
“Losing my father was the single biggest obstacle I’ve had to face, professionally or personally. As a daughter, having a father’s encouragement in sport can’t be underestimated.
“Not having siblings meant I got his undivided attention on the course at weekends and those early years of support have undoubtedly shaped the golfer I became.
“As Investec’s 20x20 Ambassador, I hope to show young girls that with belief anything can be done especially when you have great support around. I hope that more girls will be encouraged like I was.”
The second video produced by the 20x20 campaign, featuring Stephanie Meadow, airs today and is available on the campaign website (www.20x20.ie) and across the campaign’s social media channels.
Meadow is one of five female sports heroes serving as 20x20 ambassadors. The others are Louise Quinn (Irish International & Arsenal Footballer and Three’s Ambassador for 20x20), Sarah Rowe (Mayo Senior Ladies Footballer and Lidl’s Ambassador for 20x20), Laura Twomey (Dublin Senior Camogie Player and AIG’s Ambassador for 20x20) as well as another leading Irish professional golfer Leona Maguire (KPMG’s Ambassador for 20x20).
Videos featuring each of the ambassadors and documenting their unique relationship with sport and the positive impact it has had on their lives will air over the course of the two-year campaign.