Ian Woosnam expressed his delight after Europe?s Ryder Cup team won the Golf Writers? Trophy for 2006.

Woosnam captained Europe to a third successive victory over the Americans at the K Club as the team matched their record nine-point winning margin from two years ago.

Darren Clarke ? whose courageous performance just weeks after losing his wife, Heather, to cancer was the highlight of an emotional week in Ireland ? was the runner-up in the annual poll. Richie Ramsay, the first Scot to win the US Amateur Championship since 1898, finished a close third.

After the Ryder Cup team missed out at the BBC Sports awards last week, Woosnam was particularly pleased to win the Golf Writers? Trophy. ?At last!? said the Welshman. ?Thank God, we?ve won a prize after that BBC fiasco.

?I am very honoured, both for myself and on behalf of the players,? he added. ?It was an unbelievable performance. To get 18.5 points, to equal the record, and also to win all five series of play for the first time ever, is the stuff of dreams.

?It was a very special week. It was the best week of my life without question, very hard but the best. I can?t say enough about my wonderful players and the way they played.?

Clarke won three matches out of three at the K Club despite having played only one tournament in the previous two months. ?I am very grateful for all the recognition I have received and I would especially like to thank the golf writers for their support, not just this year, but throughout my career,? said the Northern Irishman.

?For the Ryder Cup team to win this trophy is the absolutely the right result. To win as we did was a stunning performance and Woosie was fantastic as our captain. We had 12 players all playing to their best and I was just proud to play my part.?

Ramsay described himself as, ?just a guy from Aberdeen who loves playing golf,? after he defeated John Kelly 4&2 in the final of the US Amateur at Hazeltine. He became the first Scot to win the title since Finlay Douglas in 1898, and the first Briton since Harold Hilton in 1911. He will play in three major championships in 2007, including the Open at Carnoustie.

Ramsay finished ahead of Ryder Cup players Paul Casey and Padraig Harrington. Laura Davies, who won the order of merit on the Ladies’ European Tour for the seventh time, also featured in the voting. Woosnam will receive the trophy during the Open Championship at Carnoustie next summer.

The award dates back to 1951. It is the sixth time the Ryder Cup team have won the trophy.