WORLD’S BEST GOLFERS WITH A DISABILITY TO COMPETE IN THE ISPS HANDA DISABLED GOLF CUP
30 Oct 2018
Six Australia representatives will take on the world at ‘Metro’
Melbourne, Victoria, AUS – Twelve of the world’s leading golfers with a disability from seven different countries will compete in the ISPS HANDA Disabled Golf Cup, which will be contested 23-24 November immediately following second and third-round play of the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf at The Metropolitan Golf Club.
The ISPS HANDA Disabled Golf Cup will showcase golf’s inclusive design with players sharing the same test as the very best of professional golfers participating in the World Cup. The ISPS HANDA Disabled Golf Cup will mirror the World Cup format on the same tees and same course conditions.
The 36-hole invitational competition will be golf’s opportunity to showcase the world’s leading players with a disability (R4GD). The R4GD is a pan disability ranking system shared by 28 countries including Golf Australia.
“The ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf is proud to host the world’s top golfers with a disability as they test their skills against one another in the ISPS HANDA Disabled Golf Cup,” said ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf Executive Director Robyn Cooper. “A special opportunity awaits these athletes to compete on a global scale in front of the top professionals in the game while playing under pristine conditions at The Metropolitan Golf Club. It will undoubtedly prove to be an inspiring and memorable two days for all involved.”
ISPS HANDA has been a leading voice in gathering support for the inclusion of disabled golf in the Paralympics, an initiative that is supported by the PGA TOUR and International Federation of PGA Tours. To continue to raise awareness of this initiative, ISPS HANDA will also host Blind and Disabled golf exhibitions at the 2019 Presidents Cup and the 2019 and 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“As we welcome the world’s top golfers with a disability to Melbourne, the ‘power of sport’ will be on full display as they represent their country with pride in this inspirational competition,” said Dr. Haruhisa Handa, Founder and Chairman of ISPS HANDA. “There’s no better stage to celebrate these athletes and their abilities than the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf, and we wish them luck as they continue to be a model of hope and inspiration for people around the world.”
The 12 golfers will include six golfers from Australia and six golfers from the rest of the world, including Victoria’s Mike Rolls, ranked 14th in the R4GD and the current Victorian Amputee Open winner. Rolls, whose ambition is to inspire others to take up the game, dedicates his resurgence with the game of golf through his father Ian, after dealing with multiple limb loss through contracting meningococcal septicaemia at a young age.
“I think this is probably the most excited I’ve ever been for a golf event,” Rolls said.
“It’s not just excitement about competing. It’s excitement about where the game is headed in the inclusive space and I think that is going to provide so much hope. It’s going to provide concrete pathways for people with a disability to take their love of golf, or to develop a love of golf and take it a long way into the future.
“There’s never been anything which is standalone identifying people that have been through a wide variety of adversity and to be able to showcase, not only what they’ve been able to overcome, but how they’ve been able to focus that energy and focus and determination and drive into a sport that is really, really difficult for people with two arms and two legs and no physical ailments. I think that’s where the impressive side of it comes for me.”
Others planning to tee it up at ‘Metro’ include Australia’s Geoff Nicholas, a legend of amputee and disabled golf who dominated the sport internationally in the 1990s and 2000s and earned the reputation as one of the true luminaries of the sport. He won both the British and U.S. Amputee Open Championships for 12 consecutive years between 1990 and 2002 and in 1992 earned his right to play on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, competing against Greg Norman and Tiger Woods.
Players are representatives of the European Disabled Golf Association, a global collaboration of 28 countries worldwide sharing pathways for people with physical, intellectual and sensory impairments. Australian players are connected to the R4GD rankings and members of Amputee Golf Australia & Special Olympics Australia.
The ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf is one of five tournaments that are co-sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours, joining the four events in the World Golf Championships series as tournaments which the Federation oversees. The International Federation of PGA Tours is an organization made up of all Tours from across the globe including the PGA TOUR, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, the ISPS HANDA PGA of Australasia, the Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour).