The Andalucía Valderrama Masters tees off tomorrow at Real Club Valderrama. A location drenched in European Tour history, it has played host to some thrilling golfing battles – not least of which was the titanic 1997 Ryder Cup.
Image credit: Real Club Valderrama
Plenty of eyes will be on defending champion Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston this week, as he seeks to defend his title. What’s more, Sergio Garcia will be keen to claw back some of the distance between him and Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood as the season heads into its final strait. For the rest of us though, this weekend’s focus is not on Sergio’s golf, but rather his hosting of the event, through the Sergio Garcia Foundation.
The Sergio Garcia Foundation
The subject of charity is an increasingly popular one in the golf world – and Garcia has long been at the forefront of it. The Sergio Garcia Foundation was set up back in 2002 to help deprived children get the support they need, as well as encouraging sport in their free time for inspiration and fitness. It was a big gesture, and the Foundation has grown exponentially ever since.
This year’s tournament, for instance, is supporting the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, helping improve their X-Ray department. “I’m very proud this week”, Garcia said on Monday. “To have a tournament hosted by your foundation is something amazing.”
Encouragingly, Garcia is by no means the only golfer to do their part for charity – there’s plenty of other top golfers leading by example. For instance…
Similarly to Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy also has his own charitable foundation, called (imaginatively) The Rory McIlroy Foundation Limited.
What the name lacks in creativity, though, it more than makes up for in donations. Along with hosting the Irish Open, the McIlroy Foundation also held a number of charitable evenings on the same week – including celebrity group talks such as An Evening With Rory McIlroy and Sir Alex Ferguson.
In total last year, the foundation was revealed to have donated a total of £1.15 million, £862,543 of which was funded directly by McIlroy himself. Among the charities that received contributions from the fund were the children’s charities; Barretstown, the Jack and Jill Foundation, and Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice – as well as the Cancer Fund for Children, Mencap NI and Sport Changes Life.
Throughout his tenure as one of the world’s most successful and popular golfers – even with a recent drop-off in form, it’s important to remember just how much of positive sporting force Rory McIlroy can be, particular when it comes to charity. And it’s clearly inspired plenty of his fellow compatriots too…
Image credit: Maxwell Photography
Wherever you seem to look, there were stories of selfless contributions from the world’s top golfers all year.
We saw Jason Day winning a brand-new BMW M760i xDrive (worth $156,700) at the BMW Championship this year and immediately donating it to the Evans Scholars Fund – with BMW donating a further $100,000 in kind.
Elsewhere, Phil Mickelson is auctioning off the chance to play with him on a four-ball at his Californian home to support army veteran charity Operation Healing Forces for a minimum of $250,000. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth took the morning off after the FedEx Cup Final to take part in the Discovery Land Company Foundation’s Silo Ridge Pro-Am Invitational – which helped raised money for children’s mentorship programmes.
While golf may have long-standing issues with certain high-profile topics; with women’s representation and a coherent annual tournament schedule between the US and Europe springing immediately to mind – it is hugely encouraging to see that one particular area where golf is not lagging behind is the commitment across the sport to charity.