Yesterday, Special Olympics athletes had an opportunity to receive instruction from Padraig Harrington during his practice day of the Barclays PGA TOUR event in New Jersey. Following the clinic, Harrington shared his involvement as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador during a press conference.
Matt Willey from Special Olympics New Jersey recounts the day:
It was Tuesday afternoon at the Barclays PGA TOUR event in Edison, NJ and seven Special Olympics New Jersey athletes and their families stood at the practice putting green. Despite an afternoon earthquake, everyone was ready to go and Padraig Harrington, 3-time Major Champion, and Special Olympics Global Ambassador, was set to work a clinic with the athletes.
Padraig arrived, introduced himself to all the athletes, learned their names immediately and the first round of photos and autographs began. Shirts, hats, golf ball and ticket stubs were all signed with personal messages from Padraig. The premise of the clinic was that he would work on putting technique with the athletes, and he soon announced that he had a surprise. Each athlete was then given a brand new Wilson putter, which he then took the time to autograph.
Now ready to play, Padraig set up some golf balls and began hitting some iron shots out onto the practice facility, focusing on the need for balance when swinging the golf club, and making sure you complete the shot and follow through. After demonstrating how to fade and draw shots, he pulled out his driver and showed everyone how far he could hit the ball, finishing with his own “Happy Gilmore” trick shot.
Following this, Padraig demonstrated some chip shots, working with the athletes on the technique needed to execute the shots correctly. Then it was time to put the new putters to the test. All the athletes took turns putting, getting instant feedback and coaching from Padraig on how to improve their putting stroke. Following the session Padraig answered questions from the athletes and their families.