DISABILITY GOLF: R&A launches Open for world's best golfers with disabilities
Elite golfers with disabilities from across the globe will gather at Woburn next week from 10-12 May, 2023 for the inaugural G4D Open.
According to the R&A: "The championship, held in partnership with The R&A and the DP World Tour and supported by EDGA (formerly the European Disabled Golf Association), will be one of the most inclusive ever staged, featuring nine sports classes across multiple impairment groups.
A field of 80 male and female players will assemble to compete over the Duchess Course at Woburn, representing 19 countries including the USA, Australia, Canada, Slovenia, Denmark and Turkey.
Fourteen of the top 20 players from the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) are in the field, including the world number one, Englishman Kipp Popert. The full field for The G4D Open can be viewed on The R&A website.
Popert was born with a form of Cerebral Palsy called Spastic Diplegia and spent most of his teenage years undergoing surgery and treatment on his legs and feet.
The 24-year-old has worked his way to the top of the global standings and is relishing the opportunity to compete at Woburn and inspire others into golf.
“It would be a big deal to win the inaugural G4D Open,” said the Wildernesse member. “Only one person is ever going to win the first one and if I put my name on that trophy then that will be incredible. It will be a memory I will treasure forever.
“What The R&A, DP World Tour and EDGA are doing for grassroots golf for people with disability has been brilliant and important, but those getting into the game need something to aspire to and that is what I’m trying to achieve. I hope people watching the G4D Open come away thinking that anyone can play golf. It doesn’t matter what your disability is.”
Amateur and professional golfers will contest the 54-hole stroke play gross competition across the sports classes which cover various categories in Standing, Intellectual, Visual and Sitting. An overall winner will be determined at the end of the three rounds, along with an opposite sex winner and a gross prize in each category.
Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, said, “We have established The G4D Open to provide a world-class stage for the very best golfers with disabilities to compete against each other and realise their ambitions at an elite level of the sport.
“The World Health Organization states that one in six people has a disability and so we want to show that golf is open to everyone regardless of ability. We are grateful for the guidance offered by EDGA in creating this championship and look forward to working with the DP World Tour to stage the inaugural event at Woburn.”
The establishment of The G4D Open follows on from the inclusion of the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities into the Rules of Golf from the start of this year and The R&A and USGA’s on-going administration of the WR4GD.
During the week of the championship, there will also be a symposium bringing together national federations from around the world to discuss important topics relating to the growth and development of golf for the disabled.
Woburn has a rich history of hosting amateur and professional championships with Final Qualifying for The Open from 2014 to 2017 and most recently the AIG Women's Open in 2019, both played on the Marquess Course."