Three time Major Champion and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Padraig Harrington will Wear the Laces for Special Olympics in his bid to recapture the Irish Golf Open presented by Discover Ireland at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club.
Harrington has chosen to wear the distinctive Special Olympics emblazoned shoelaces to send a message of respect, acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities to the millions of golf fans tuning into the Irish Open around the world.
He said: “It was really inspirational to hear about Team Ireland and all the athletes who took part in the recent 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens. Each one of them overcame great hurdles to be there, showing no rivalry against each other but a single focus on reaching their very own personal best and enjoying themselves.
“Winning the Irish Open again is an obvious target of mine and the recent successes in Irish Golf only motivate me further. I am proud to be part of the Wear the Laces for Special Olympics initiative, tied together with my friends at Special Olympics; which I hope will raise awareness for the movement.”
As a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics since May 2010, Harrington serves as an advisor to the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team on Golf helping to implement golf programs and initiatives designed to spread respect for people with intellectual disabilities to an international audience.
Harrington also takes an active role on the golf range and has conducted a number of golf training sessions with Special Olympics athletes and coaches.
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, who won his first Irish Open four years ago just a few weeks before claiming the first of his Major haul at The Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2007, is one of the star attractions at the Irish Open along with new US Open Champion Rory McIlroy, 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell and the newly crowned Open champion, Darren Clarke.