Harrington, the three-time major champion, took some time out of his busy schedule at the PGA Tour Players’ Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida to speak to the media about his new role and participate in a golf clinic with some local Special Olympics athletes.
He was introduced to a crowd of global press by Special Olympics Europe-Eurasia Managing Director, Mary Davis. “I am just delighted to be here to make this announcement,” she said, “and it’s just fantastic to see the Special Olympics logo on your shirt today.” Padraig then spoke to reporters about how excited he is to take on this new global role before heading over to spend time with Special Olympics golfers.
“I am thrilled to be invited to become the Special Olympics' Ambassador for Golf,” said Harrington. “I believe that the game of golf can inspire Special Olympics athletes to reach for their goals and enjoy the benefits the game brings. I look forward to playing an active part in the exciting times ahead.”
Padraig will serve as advisor to the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team on golf, offering his professional expertise to help further the sport of golf within the movement. He will also continue to take an active role on the golf course, participating in golf training sessions and clinics with athletes and coaches as he did in Florida last week.
At that clinic Padraig was joined by four local Special Olympics athletes: 12-year-old Carolyn Smith, 20 year-old Nicole Stanley, 8-year-old Cal Fisher and finally 28-year-old Kyle Muzina. Kyle is also a Special Olympics global messenger and will be the only 18-hole golfer representing Florida at the Special Olympics U.S.A. National Games in Nebraska this summer, something he proudly told Padraig at the clinic.
Kyle also took a moment to thank Padraig on behalf of all Special Olympics athletes. Then Kyle and his fellow athletes recited together to Padraig their athlete oath: “Let me win, But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Padraig took out a club and advised these Special Olympics athletes on some proper golf techniques. They watched his demonstration and heeded his pointers before Padraig turned the stage over to the athletes: “Cal, will you have a go for me?” he said to the youngest of the group, 8-year-old Cal Fisher. Cal thoroughly impressed Padraig as he drove the balls far into the distance, “Great shot!” he told him. Each athlete had their turn, as Padraig personally teed-up the balls for all of the golfers as he watched their swing and provided helpful feedback to improve their golf game.
Overall, it was a great afternoon that the athletes really enjoyed. Padraig hopes to have many such clinics in the future as he builds on his new role as Global Ambassador and works to implement golf programs and initiatives that will further spread respect for people with intellectual disabilities to an international audience.
Related Link:Harrington's Appointment As Global Ambassador is Special (source: www.togerther.pgatour.com)