GOLF: My special year

GRAEME McDowell has paid tribute to his parents after he rounded off an extraordinary year by being named RTE's Sports Personality of the Year.

The Portrush golfer picked up the gong at a special pre-Christmas awards ceremony in Dublin last Wednesday night.

It helped make up for the disappointment of missing out on the BBC award and McDowell thanked the organisers for helping to cap an unbelievable year for him.

"Thank-you so much for this award it completes a remarkable season for me," he said.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my parents. They have been an unbelievable support for me down the years.

"It's great to catch up with them again now at Christmas. I've been on the road for the last eight weeks so it's nice to be home.

"One of the proudest moments of my life was having my dad run on the 18th green at Pebble Beach after I won the US Open...it was a very special moment for me.

"To win a major championship at Pebble Beach on Father's Day it was a script I couldn't have written, I couldn't have imagined it in my wildest dreams.

"I always get very emotional when I watch the clips back again."

McDowell showed his appreciation for his parents by splashing out some of his hard earned winnings.

His dad, Kenny, got his gift early and what a gift it was - a top of the range Audi A8.

"Santa has visited early," said Kenny on Christmas Eve. "Graeme was very generous and got me a lovely car.

"He's always been a very generous lad that way and he got me an Audi A8 so we'll have some fun driving around in it when he comes home for Christmas.

"He's also recently become an uncle to twins so he is looking forward to the best Christmas ever - a real family celebration."

G-Mac's gift is equipped with all the ex-tras and was specially ordered from the top-of-the-range, high-spec collection.

He has also splashed out on an expensive present for his mum - but he had sworn his dad to secrecy so he could surprise her on the big day.

Kenny added: "Graeme is taking a proper break and going to kick back and have a few beers at home. He's like anyone else and just wants to put his feet up at Christmas and let his hair down.

"Then next year he'll be back on the course all guns blazing and giving it his all."