An inspiring group of Irish golfers will head to The Belfry – former Ryder Cup venue and also host to multiple tournaments on the European Tour – for next week’s annual Sport Parkinson’s Four Nations tournament, which takes place on October 11th-12th.
The 10 players on the Irish team – with players, men and women, from all four provinces and with ages ranging from the 40s to the 70s – all have Parkinson’s Disease and are members of the Irish Parkinson’s Golf Network, a voluntary group formed to encourage golfers of all standards to play and socialise together.
“Our message is that Parkinson’s Disease shouldn’t discourage people from playing sports or being active; just because your physical strengths diminish doesn’t mean you can’t have a very enjoyable and continued relationship with sport. Our group are a great example of that,” said Ronan O’Kelly, organiser of IPGN, who was diagnosed with PD in 2014 (aged 47) and took up golf in 2019.
“We very much want to communicate that Parkinson’s isn’t the end of the world, and can be tackled with positivity and also that support exists and by using certain coping mechanisms, in my case mostly humour and positivity, life with PD is more than manageable. Many people treat a PD diagnosis as a death sentence when it just isn’t. Yes, it’s progressively debilitating, but with adjustments life can continue to be rewarding and, in some ways, improve,” added O’Kelly.
The team members pay their own way to the Belfry for the tournament but would love if corporate sponsors came on board:
Henrik Stenson has paid a price for his move to LIV, with the Swedish Golf Federation moving to sever links with its one-time favoured son.
Already stripped of the European Ryder Cup captaincy because of his defection to the start-up tour, the SGF announced it was ending its partnership with Stenson who had supported junior and paragolf initiatives.
“We believe that Henrik, given his involvement with LIV Golf, can no longer act as a role model,” said Gunna Hakansson, the secretary general of the SGF, formally ending the link.
Stenson said he was “disappointed” that such a move was taken but vowed to continue supporting both junior and paragolf players in his homeland.
Word of Mouth
“The first one came in my fifth tournament as a PGA Tour member. I felt like, ‘oh, man, this is going to be easy, I’m going to be able to rack up a few of these’, and it’s been six years since I did that” – Mackenzie Hughes on finally getting back into the winner’s enclosure, his playoff victory at the second playoff hole over Sepp Straka in the Sanderson Farms giving him a second win to go with his 2016 RSM Classic success.
By the Numbers: 3
The Challenge Tour is winding its way down towards a climatic finish to the season, with just three tournaments left in the schedule before the 20 top players in the order of merit receive full DP World Tour cards. The three events left are the British Challenge at St Mellion this week (where there are three Irish players in the field, Tom McKibbin, Ruaidhri McGee and John Murphy), the English Trophy and, finally, the Rolex Grand Final.
On this day: 4th October 1998
Fred Funk had gone into the final round of the Buick Challenge at Pine Mountain resort in Georgia seeking a wire-to-wire win. He nearly managed to achieve the feat, only for Australia’s Steve Elkington to spoil the party by coming from four back to ultimately claim his ninth career win on the PGA Tour at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Elkington, who had missed a large part of the season due to suffering from viral meningitis, shot a final round 65 to tie with Funk on 267.
On the first playoff hole – the par four 18th – Funk’s tee-shot found a fairway bunker. “I hit my worst drive of the week. I had a bad lie. I was pretty much dead,” said Funk, who compounded the error but hitting the lip with his recovery and then hit his third into greenside rough before The Elk had even played his second.
Elkington’s second shot found the middle of the green and he two-putted for a winning par that earned him a payday of $270,000.
This one is special, getting a win at the home of golf with the family watching can’t be beaten. @dunhilllinks truly is an amazing event and can’t be prouder to be champion this year This one is for you @shanewarne23 I know you were there looking down this week #Ripwarnie – Ryan Fox
Always a pleasure @TheHomeofGolf Top 10 ✔ Card secured ✔ Time to push on Special win for @ryanfoxgolfer – Dale Whitnell showing it is not always about getting the W.
Golf can never be fully under your own control. 3 of us in my group hit in the road hole bunker. Matt Southgate had to play out sideways to the right. Rory had to play out sideways to the left and I had a relatively easy up and down – Pádraig Harrington on the vagaries of the infamous Road Hole bunker at St Andrews.
Know the Rules
A player searches for her ball in a pile of leaves. In doing so, she accidentally kicks and moves her ball as well as a number of the leaves. She estimated where the ball lay and replaced it on that spot but did not replace the leaves before making the stroke. What is the ruling?
There is no penalty. In replacing the ball, the player is not required to replace loose impediments (such as leaves) since loose impediments are not part of the lie (Interpretation 7.4/1)
In the Bag: Ryan Fox, Alfred Dunhill Links
Driver – Srixon ZX5 (10.5 degrees)
5-wood – TaylorMade SIM (19 degrees)
Utility iron – Srixon Z U85 (2)
Irons – Srixon ZX7 MKII Prototype (4-PW)
Wedges – Cleveland RTX ZipCore (50, 56 and 60 degrees)
Putter – Ping Answer 2D
Ball – Srixon Z Star XV