Paul McGinley has been presented with the Golf Foundation’s most prestigious honour, creating a buzz and inspiring watching families at Royal Portrush ahead of the 148th Open Championship.
(Picture: Getty Images)
The Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award is given each year to a world golfer who has shown a superb commitment to upholding the spirit of the game and who has inspired many new players to take up the sport.
Former Ryder Cup Captain McGinley was presented with the elegant glass and silver claret jug in the Spectator Village at Royal Portrush Golf Club, on Tuesday (16th July).
During the whole of Open week, the Golf Foundation is guest of its strongest supporter The R&A and is working alongside colleagues from the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI), to help grow the game further for young people in Ireland and Northern Ireland and raise the profile of this national charity’s work throughout the UK.
McGinley was presented with the trophy by Golf Foundation Chairman Stephen Lewis, but before receiving the accolade the man who struck the winning putt to win the Ryder Cup for Europe in 2002 had to play a series of Tri-Golf challenges with a group of boys and girls from Blainroe Golf Club in County Wicklow, Ireland, a club with an excellent reputation for its encouragement of young players. Paul enjoyed answering questions from the youngsters and revealed that his own father had been his greatest inspiration when starting out in golf.
Paul McGinley said: “I am honoured to receive this award from the Golf Foundation and get the chance to play Tri-Golf and talk with these young players. This is such a wonderful sport that you can play all your life with all generations of the family together. Golf teaches its players so much about respect and character while it also provides great opportunities as young people grow up. I’d say to all children to play a range of sports, including golf, and what I have loved most has been making fabulous close friends through playing the game.”
Chairman Stephen Lewis said: “We are presenting our Spirit of Golf Award to Paul not just because he has been a great champion, a great team player and a brilliant leader, but for his understanding of the valuable life lessons golf offers us all, and how fantastic the sport is for instilling positive values; values which this charity promotes passionately.
“The work that Paul put in to the Ryder Cup’s Gleneagles legacy for young golfers of the future was outstanding. It is fantastic for us as a charity that we can honour Paul in this way during this wonderful Open for the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
Paul now joins previous winners of the award, including: 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), Laura Davies (2016), Padraig Harrington (2017) and Paul Lawrie (2018).
This week during The Open, youngsters of all abilities are meeting the Golf Foundation and CGI to play energetic and fun ‘Tri-Golf’ challenges (while all family members can enjoy the Titleist Putting Challenge). Sixteen organised groups of children from regional golf clubs, school and charity projects have also been invited to the R&A SwingZone before going on to watch the stars of world golf out on the links.
The Golf Foundation wants to offer special thanks to Burridge Trophies for supplying the excellent Spirit of Golf Award trophy for this event.