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Sergio Garcia
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Garcia named Rookie of the Year

Spanish teenager Sergio Garcia, the youngest golfer to play in the Ryder Cup, was named as European Rookie of the Year on Monday.

The 19-year-old was selected as the 35th recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton award by a panel comprising the European Tour, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the Association of Golf Writers.

Garcia is only the second Spaniard to win the award, given to the European golfer deemed to have produced the most outstanding performance internationally in his first year on the European Tour, following Jose Maria Olazabal in 1986.

Previous winners include Tony Jacklin (1963), Bernard Gallacher (1968), Sam Torrance (1972), Mark James (1976), Nick Faldo (1977) and Sandy Lyle (1978).

"I feel fortunate to have achieved so much in my first season as a professional," said Garcia. "You can only be a rookie once, and it feels great to to be the European Tour's Rookie of the Year."

"When I turned professional in April I had great hopes for the future but really my main objectives were to win enough money to get my cards in Europe and America. I did that and won two tournaments as well."

Garcia said the highlights of his season had been winning twice on the European Tour (Irish Open and German Masters), finishing second in the U.S. PGA Championship and playing in the Ryder Cup.

At the PGA, he chased world number one Tiger Woods right to the end before losing by one stroke. He also became the youngest player to lead the PGA championship.

"The Ryder Cup is something I will always remember. I look forward to playing many times in the future and to being in the team at the Belfry in 2001 and helping Europe win back the Cup," said the Spaniard.

Garcia played in 12 tournaments on the 1999 European Tour and earned £941,209