Padraig to be Special Olympics' Global Ambassador for Golf

The Special Olympics has announced that Padraig Harrington will become its Global Ambassador. In his role as a Global Ambassador for Golf, the three-time major winner will build on his reputation as a humanitarian to help spread the Special Olympics' message of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities around the world. His announcement was made during a press event during the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

Harrington will specifically serve as an advisor to the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team on golf, offering his expertise to help further the sport of golf within the movement. He will be the face of the 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 practice range, participating in special golf-training sessions with athletes and coaches. In addition to sharing his 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 to 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," the Dublin, Ireland, native said. "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 been active in assisting charities, especially through his Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation (PHCF), which provides financial assistance to deserving beneficiaries throughout Ireland and the world. As with the PHCF, Harrington will be actively involved with Special Olympics, using his profile for the greater good.

"We are proud to have Padraig as part of the Special Olympics family," said Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman and CEO. "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 group of athletes and celebrities dedicated to spreading the Special Olympics movement and message worldwide. These include Chinese basketball player Yao Ming; soccer star Kaka; Olympic medalists Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci; recording artist Joe Jonas; and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, which 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. Married with two young boys, Harrington believes he can use golf to inspire and motivate through his work as an ambassador for Special Olympics.

Harrington became the first European player to win back-to-back Major championships when he added the 2008 PGA Championship to the 2008 Open Championship crown, after becoming the first Irishman to win a major in 60 years at the 2007 British Open. He 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 movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.3 million athletes in over 170 countries around the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities from places like China and the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship.

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