POSTED: Thursday May 6th 2010

Golfer Padraig Harrington Joins Special Olympics As Global Ambassador for Golf

Special Olympics announced today, professional golfer Padraig Harrington has joined the Special Olympics family as the movement’s newest Global Ambassador.

Harrington with Special Olympics golfer Kyle Muzina
Harrington with Special Olympics golfer Kyle Muzina

Harrington gave tips to budding Special Olympics golfers at TPC Sawgrass
Harrington gave tips to budding Special Olympics golfers at TPC Sawgrass

Harrington with Special Olympics athletes and representatives
Harrington with Special Olympics athletes and representatives

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL- May 6, 2010 - Special Olympics announced yesterday, professional golfer Padraig Harrington has joined the Special Olympics family as the movement’s newest Global Ambassador.  In his new role as a Global Ambassador for Golf, three-time major winner Harrington will build on his already established reputation as a humanitarian to help spread the Special Olympics’ message of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities across the world. His announcement was made during a press event for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida earlier today.

Harrington will specifically serve as an advisor to the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team on golf, offering his professional expertise to help further the sport of golf within the movement. He will be the face of the movement’s upcoming new Sports Resource website, where he hopes coaches will provide leadership and guidance to athletes on the development and execution of golf training and competition. 

Harrington will also take an active role on the golf range, as he will participate in special golf training sessions with athletes and coaches.  In addition to sharing his golfing knowledge, he will front a recruitment campaign targeted towards securing more Special Olympics’ golf coaches.

Overall, Special Olympics will partner with Harrington to implement golf programs and initiatives that will further spread respect for people with intellectual disabilities to an international audience.

"I am thrilled to be invited to become the Special Olympics' Ambassador for Golf,” said Harrington I believe that the game of golf can inspire Special Olympics athletes to reach for their goals and enjoy the benefits the game brings. I look forward to playing an active part in the exciting times ahead."

Harrington has always placed a high importance on his charitable work, especially with the establishment of his Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation (PHCF), which provides financial assistance to deserving beneficiaries throughout Ireland and the rest of the world.  As with the PHCF, Harrington will play an active role in his involvement with the Special Olympics movement, using his profile for the greater good.

“We are proud to have Padraig as part of the Special Olympics family,” said Special Olympics Chairman and CEO, Timothy Shriver.  “His commitment to supporting others and his international celebrity will be a great help for us to raise awareness for the respect of people with an intellectual disability not only within the golf community, but worldwide.”

Harrington joins a select group of athletes and celebrities who are dedicated to spreading the Special Olympics movement and message worldwide.  These include names such as Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, footballer Kaka, Olympic medalists Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci; recording artist Joe Jonas; California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; boxing legend Muhammad Ali; actors Zhang Ziyi and Jackie Chan, and performer Vanessa Williams.

More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family. 

One of five brothers, Harrington is from a close-knit family and is a family man himself, being married with two young boys. He believes that he can use the game of golf to inspire and motivate through his work as an ambassador for Special Olympics.

Three time major winner, Padraig Harrington, became the first European player to win back-to-back Major Championships when he added the 2008 USPGA Championship to the 2008 Open Championship crown, having been the first Irishman to win a Major in 60 years at the 2007 Open Championship. 

In addition, Harrington has been a member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team five times, won the 2006 European Tour Order of Merit, was the first Irish winner of the Irish Open for 25 years and has a total of 25 tournament titles worldwide.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.3 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. 

Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard.  Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at

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Keywords · special olympics · golf · padraig harrington

Name: Mandy Murphy
Organization: Special Olympics
Phone: +1-202-824-0227

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