- Padraig Harrington receives award for outstanding contribution to golf
- The R&A Working for Golf Ambassador honoured by Golf Foundation during BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
- The two-time Champion Golfer of the Year joins Gary Player, Tony Jacklin and Lee Westwood in list of recipients of Spirit of Golf Award.
Padraig Harrington has received the Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the sport.
Harrington, an R&A Working for Golf Ambassador, accepted the honour last week during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. He now joins an illustrious list of previous recipients of the award, which includes Gary Player (2007), Tony Jacklin (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Ian Poulter (2010), Ernie Els (2011), Peter Alliss (2012), Tom Watson (2013), Darren Clarke (2014), Justin Rose (2015) and Laura Davies (2016).
The Golf Foundation
The Golf Foundation, supported by The R&A, is the child-centred national charity that through its HSBC Golf Roots programme helps young people from all backgrounds to enjoy the playing and personal benefits of the sport.
The Foundation believes the two-time Champion Golfer of the Year is a player who embodies the ‘Skills for Life’ attributes of the game such as resilience, respect and sportsmanship, which are among values inherent within all Golf Foundation programmes.
Harrington marked the occasion by captaining a team of local youngsters in a special ‘Tri-Golf’ match in Wentworth’s Spectator Village on first day of the championship. Tri-Golf is just one of the charity’s fun formats of the game, which are successfully encouraging children along a pathway from school to regular club golf (‘Start, Learn and Stay’).
Padraig Harrington reaction
After being presented with the award, Harrington captained a team of local youngsters in a special Tri-Golf match in Wentworth’s Spectator Village as well as answering questions from the Cippenham Infants School pupils. He said, “As professional golfers we are usually judged on our tour successes, but I’m honoured to receive this award because it’s about the manner in which we play the game.
“Ever since I was a boy I have always tried to follow the true spirit of golf, to play the game in the right way and to respect my opponents and the golf course at all times. I fix every pitch-mark, replace every divot and never lose my temper, whilst enjoying the challenge that the game provides.
“Golf is a wonderful sport for youngsters – you can be big or small, a boy or a girl and all can be competitive. Golf can also help develop many good attributes through the way it is played and the etiquette. I love team sports but in golf you are on your own, learning to control your emotions and adhering to the rules, which can all help shape character. I love the game and hope I can encourage young people to take it up.”
Harrington’s charitable work
Away from the golf course, where he has so far claimed three Majors (including back-to-back wins at The Open in 2007 (Carnoustie) and 2008 (Royal Birkdale), as well as the PGA Championship in the same year, played in six Ryder Cup matches and enjoyed a total of 27 other victories around the world, Harrington devotes time to generating awareness and raising funds for worthy causes.
He runs his own Charitable Foundation, which supports deserving beneficiaries in Ireland and internationally, and supports the junior game as part of his role as an R&A Working for Golf Ambassador and as a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics. Harrington is also a patron of the Irish charity, the Oesophageal Cancer Fund.
Golf Foundation Chairman Stephen Lewis, who presented Harrington with the award, said, “Padraig has always played the game with huge focus and hard work to back up his talent, but right alongside this has always been that great attitude, a smile on his face and an appreciation of the value of sportsmanship.
“His strong intelligence and articulate reasoning have also helped him in his consistent work for the good of the sport and for charities, and this has been an outstanding contribution to golf.
“Padraig has inspired so many young people to play golf in just the right way. The example he sets on the golf course encourages all of us to play the game with spirit, fun and integrity.”
The silver and glass Spirit of Golf Award trophy was specially crafted for the Golf Foundation, provided by Derrick Burridge, of Burridge, London.
The Golf Foundation is one of the European Tour’s joint Official Charities for the BMW PGA Championship alongside Rays of Sunshine. The European Tour is one of the Foundation’s major supporters.