"To be knocking on the kind of doors we are, and for those doors to be opening, is really encouraging," is how Brendan Lawlor – the number one golfer in world disability rankings – put it of meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in his lobbying of golf's inclusion in future Paralympics Games.
Although it won’t make it into the schedule for Paris 2024, Lawlor – a full-time professional with three wins on the EDGA Tour last year – and his fellow advocates are targeting the Los Angeles Games in 2028 as the potential for its debut.
“It’s an absolute privilege to represent Ireland where I’m playing and to fight for inclusivity for all disability athletes, regardless of what sport they play. Putting our case to the Taoiseach feels like a massive step towards reaching our ultimate goal of Paralympics recognition. To play for Ireland in Los Angeles in 2028 really would be a dream come true,” said the Co Louth golfer.
Lawlor – who was born with the rare bone disorder Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome – has been a pioneering force in letting his clubs do much of the talking in advancing the cause of disability golf and won tournaments in Northern Ireland, Wales and Dubai on last season’s circuit.
Chestnutt makes history with Dungannon captaincy
Dungannon Golf Club has been making history for a long time . . . right back to the days – in 1891 – when it was one of the founding clubs of the Golfing Union of Ireland.
With the GUI and the Irish Ladies Golf Union now integrated as Golf Ireland, Dungannon has claimed the distinction of selecting Alison Chestnutt as the first woman to be club captain of an all-gender golf club.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said history-maker Alison of assuming the captaincy at the club’s annual general meeting held Monday night. “When people think of golf clubs they conjure up images of stuffy gentlemen in clubs with lots of rules but I’m proud to say that Dungannon Golf Club is nothing like that.”
Word of Mouth
"My first thought was just, 'finally'. Finally a really big event. I don't take anything away from the other wins but this one definitely stands out for me" – Thomas Pieters on winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC, a Rolex Series event. The win propelled the Belgian to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings and also moved him to 31st in the updated world rankings.
By the Numbers: 19/1
Aaron Jarvis – aged 19 – will become the first player from the Cayman Islands to play in the Masters at Augusta National following his victory in the Latin America Amateur Championship in the Dominican Republic. Jarvis, who is on the first year of a golfing scholarship to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, earned invites to Augusta and also the 150th Open at St Andrews with the victory.
On this day: January 25th, 1998
Jesper Parnevik had won on the European Tour and played in the Ryder Cup but had to wait until the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale for this breakthrough win on the PGA Tour.
The flamboyant Swede marked his win in some style. Walking down the 18th fairway, he took out a cigar from his bag and lit it up, en route to a final round 67 for a 15-under-par total of 269 which gave him a three-stroke winning margin over Tom Watson, Tommy Armour III, Brent Geiberger and Steve Pate.
A five-time runner-up on the PGA Tour the previous season, Parnevik took control of his own destiny down the stretch with birdies on the 14th, 15th and 17th holes.
It meant he held a comfortable lead standing on the 18th tee and could light up the cigar in sealing the deal: “You need a cushion to play number 18, because you don’t want to fool around with that left side. You don’t want to look stupid and knock it in the left water and walk away with an eight or something,” Parnevik remarked.
In the Bag: Hudson Swafford – The American Express
Driver: TaylorMade Stealth (9 degrees)
3-wood: Ping i25 (14 degrees)
5-wood: Ping i25 (18 degrees)
Irons: PXG 0311 ST Gen4 (4-9)
Wedges: PXG 0311 Sugar Daddy (46, 50 and 56 degrees), Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 7.5 tour prototype
Ball: Titleist ProV1
So special to win my 2nd @theamexgolf but nothing like having my son James watch me win in person for the first time. Think I've found my good luck charm – Hudson Swafford on getting the job done in the American Express at La Quinta.
Feels amazing to win again, chickened out on 18 but a solid par was just enough – Thomas Pieters on his win in the Abu Dhabi HSBC where his safe play of the last demonstrated maturity.
Wasn't good enough today unfortunately . . . thanks to all the Irish that came out to support and for all your support back home. Sorry I couldn't deliver. Congrats to @Thomas_Pieters on your win. On to Dubai for me. #onwardsandupwards – Shane Lowry, who fell away in the final round but who gets the chance to bounce back at this week's Dubai Desert Classic.
Know the Rules
In a strokeplay completion, A, B and C were drawn to play together starting at 9.00am. Players A and B were present at the appointed time. Player C arrived at 9.02am, after A and B had teed off but just in time to play in the correct order. What is the ruling?
As Player C arrived and was ready to play within five minutes after his starting time, he gets a penalty of two strokes for failure to be ready to play at the start time established by the committee. If C had arrived more than five minutes after his starting time, the penalty would be disqualification.
If, however, the starting time is delayed for any reason (such as weather, slow play of other groups or the need for a ruling by a referee), there is no breach of this rule if the player is present and ready to play when the player’s group is able to start.