Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ryder Cup snub Adrian Meronk “shocked” to win prestigious Seve Ballesteros award

Photo by Waleed Zein/Getty Images

Ahead of this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic, the DP World Tour awarded Adrian Meronk with its Seve Ballesteros Award, given to the best player of the year.

Meronk had a career year in 2023, winning the Australian Open, the Italian Open, and the Andalucía Masters.

The 30-year-old Pole recorded seven top-10s in total. But he was left off the European Ryder Cup team despite his victory at Marco Simone Golf Club earlier in the year.

“I’m shocked to be honest. I didn’t expect that,” Meronk said on Tuesday.

“But seeing my name next to all these players is unbelievable. I’m very grateful for this award. It means a lot to me that other players appreciate my season last year. Yeah, it’s a great feeling.”

Meronk beat out Rory McIlroy to become the first Polish player to win the Seve Ballesteros Award.

“Last year was the best season so far in my career,” Meronk added.

“I’m really happy that other players saw that, as well, and gave that award. Just thank you for that, and I have to keep going.”

Meronk has an opportunity to continue his strong play at this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic, the first Rolex Series event of the season.

Like the Signature Events on the PGA Tour, the Rolex Events consist of five DP World Tour tournaments with elevated purses. Additional Race to Dubai points are also available.

Top players from around the world will compete for $9 million and 8,000 Race to Dubai points in Dubai this week.

Along with McIlroy and Meronk, reigning Open Champion Brian Harman is in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic field. So, too, is Tommy Fleetwood, fresh off his victory at the Dubai Invitational. Padraig Harrington, Tyrell Hatton, and Adam Scott will also tee it up this week.

Nonetheless, this elevated field gives Meronk another opportunity to demonstrate that he is one of the top players in the world.

[Winning this award] should probably give me all the more confidence,” Meronk said.

“I enjoy this week. I love playing here in Dubai. It’s probably one of my favorite tournaments of the year. So I’m excited to be here. We have such a great field this week. So I will enjoy every moment.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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