Paul Lawrie OBE was awarded the Golf Foundation’s most prestigious honour during Open Championship week, in the Spectator Village at Carnoustie on Tuesday.
Each year the Golf Foundation presents a leading international golfer with its ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award, given to a player who has inspired young people to take up the game through the way he/she has played the sport.
It was perhaps fitting to present the award to Paul Lawrie this year at his spiritual home of Carnoustie following his dramatic Open Championship victory in 1999, which will have inspired so many youngsters at that time, as did Paul’s exploits in 2012 as one of the victorious European Ryder Cup team in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’. Paul is still encouraging many young golfers today as a coach, helping thousands of boys and girls to thrive in the sport through the Paul Lawrie Foundation.
Paul joins previous winners of the Spirit of Golf 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) and Padraig Harrington (2017).
The Golf Foundation is the progressive charity that works with national partners to encourage young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport and enjoy its ‘Skills for Life’ benefits. The Foundation team is at Carnoustie all week, where children and families can find them in the ‘R&A SwingZone’.
Paul Lawrie said he was “deeply honoured” to receive the Spirit of Golf Award, and celebrated by playing a special Tri-Golf challenge match against boys and girls from Dundee Ladies Golf, much to the delight of watching families. The children asked Paul about why golf is a good sport for young people and what he would do if he hadn’t been a Tour player.
Paul said:“Golf is a great sport. It gets you out in the fresh air, it’s very challenging and always makes you think, while golf is a fantastic way for young people to make friendships that will always stay with you. It’s a sport that if you work hard and have the right attitude you can go a long way in the game. If I hadn’t made it as a player I’d have coached full time. I’m a member of the PGA and a big supporter of the organisation and of coaches, because I can see the difference they can make to young people. A good coach can inspire youngsters to enjoy golf for their whole lives.”
Golf Foundation Chairman Stephen Lewis said: “Paul is a superstar in the way he has opened up golf to so many new young players and we all admire the way he plays this sport. The work he has carried out for his Foundation is tremendous and a great credit to his commitment and vision. He is hugely deserving of our Spirit of Golf Award.”
The Dundee youngsters clearly enjoyed their experience; they were one of nearly 20 golf club groups visiting the Golf Foundation at The Open, as the charity works for the week with Scottish Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association, as guests of The R&A, to help grow the game.
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