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Golf News: - Posted 11th December 1997

Scott Henderson gets Rookie of the Year award

London - Scotland's Scott Henderson, the golfer who gave up his job as an engineer in the oil industry to become a professional, and who had three top-10 finishes in 1997, was named the European PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year it was announced by the EPGA. He is the 33rd recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

The 28-year-old finished 42nd on the European Tour this season with 147,000, the highlights being his joint runners-up finish in the Canon European Masters in Switzerland and tied fourth in the Compaq European Grand Prix at Slaley Hall.

Henderson turned professional at 22 and earned his European Tour Card in 1996. He played in 21 tournaments in 1997

"If I hadn't quit being an engineer in the oil industry, and given professional golf a go, then I know would always have regretted it," he told reporters.

Fellow Scots Bernard Gallacher, Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle, Gordon Brand Jnr and Colin Montgomerie are among former winners of the award, selected by a panel from the European Tour, Association of Golf Writers and Royal and Ancient Club secretary Michael Bonallack, the nominee of the late Sir Henry Cotton.

"I'm delighted and obviously hope that I can follow in the footsteps of those players who have used the award as the foundation for great careers,'' said Henderson.

"It really is a great honour and for me personally it is something that I did not think of at the start of the year. I was a late starter to this game as I didn't turn professional until I was 22.

"The first year I didn't get past the first qualifying stage of the tour qualifying school. But I made steady progress and won my card in 1996 by finishing 22nd at the school.

"I had a couple of decent finishes fairly early on this year and that gave me the opportunity to be more positive.

"Your attitude changes because instead of thinking about just keeping your card, you think about winning. Now the aim will be to make further improvements next year and hopefully win for the first time on the tour.

"If I hadn't quit being an engineer and given professional golf a go I know I would always have regretted it. This award is a wonderful way to round out the year ".

The award carries a prize of 2,000 guineas from Techniform Business Forms.

Past European Tour Rookie include:

1976 Mark James (England)

1977 Nick Faldo (England)

1978 Sandy Lyle (Scotland)

1979 Mike Miller (Scotland)

1980 Paul Hoad (England)

1981 Jeremy Bennett (England)

1982 Gordon Brand jnr (Scotland)

1983 Grant Turner (England)

1984 Philip Parkin (Wales)

1985 Paul Thomas (Wales)

1986 Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain)

1987 Peter Baker (England)

1988 Colin Montgomerie (Scotland)

1989 Paul Broadhurst (England)

1990 Russell Claydon (England)

1991 Per-Ulrik Johansson (Sweden)

1992 Jim Payne (England)

1993 Gary Orr (Scotland)

1994 Jonathan Lomas (England)

1995 Jarmo Sandelin (Sweden)

1996 Thomas Bjorn (Denmark)

1997 Scott Henderson (Scotland)