Five-time Open Champion Tom Watson has been presented with the Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award at Muirfield.
Watson received the award in front of a packed audience at the R&A Swingzone in Muirfield’s tented village. Foundation President Colin Montgomerie was there to lead the welcome for Tom and warmly praised his contribution to the sport.
Also starring in the zone was a group of young local children. The boys and girls played in a ‘Tri-Golf’ challenge against Tom and then asked him questions about how he started in the game.
The Golf Foundation works to make golf more accessible to children from all backgrounds through its HSBC Golf Roots programme.
In presenting the crystal and silver claret jug to Tom Watson, Golf Foundation Chairman Charles Harrison said: “The Golf Foundation believes that the ‘Skills for Life’ benefits of golf can be of tremendous value to young people as they develop as people. Nobody in the game embodies the spirit of golf better than Tom Watson.”
Asked why golf was such a “good sport”, Watson replied: “Golf is a wonderful game that you can play for your whole life. It provides a great lesson because you earn credit for your good shots and learn to accept the blame for your bad shots.”
He added: “I am very honoured to win this Award. I hope I have inspired young players just as I was inspired when taking up the game at the age of six with great support from my father.”
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said later: “The assembled crowd hung on his every word because he is so respected. As a charity we help young people to embrace these strong principles of competition, sportsmanship, honesty and respect for others.”
The Golf Foundation is a highly progressive development organisation which is increasing golf participation in schools and creating stronger links between schools and golf clubs and driving ranges in support of the national bodies for England, Scotland and Wales.