Brendan Lawlor talks about training Prince Harry and making the history of the tour – Yalla Match

Three years ago, he was adjusting to his new life as a professional athlete. Since then, the 25-year-old has become the first disabled golfer to take part in the European Tour, winning three pre-season events in a row through 2021 and climbing to the top of the world rankings for handicap golf.

Prince Harry has helped improve his swing in recent weeks and reach a notable new round of para-golf – but perhaps Lawlor’s most cherished moment came in the final trials for his country’s para-golf club.

“It’s just as insane – last year in Ireland we did not have disabled golfers, and this year we did one last trial with seven players – all under three, which is unbelievable,” Lawlor told CNN.

“They all say, ‘We started it because we saw you play The Belfry’ (on Lawlor’s first European tour), ‘we see you do it,'” he added. “It feels good in your stomach when people try something, because you create the path for them.

“I do not really care about order – I just want to go out and win as many meetings as possible, and change the lives of as many people as possible.”

New dawn

From his hometown of Dundalk, north of Dublin, Lawlor spoke before the start of the opening round of Paralympic Golf (G4D) at the British Masters.

The Belfry, which has hosted the Ryder Cup four times, in Warwickshire, England, has provided an iconic setting to launch the tour, which will be competed by the world’s top 10 players with disabilities in seven events in six countries.

Where pretend meetings between European tour events have been swallowed up, the new G4D tour will take place jointly with – and more than two days before – the European tour. With each with the subject of a full-length documentary on Sky Sports, handicapped golf has more exposure than ever before.

World number two, Cape Bobert, triumphed in the first event, with Lawlor finishing four strokes over the Englishman in fourth place.

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“If we can keep sending that message, if we can even affect 10 lives, it’s great,” said Lawlor, who is already dreaming of extending the tour to up to 50 players. “It will have a circular effect for disabled golfers.”

“Golf for everyone”

Belfry’s latest outing was Lawlor’s return to the cycle where he made headlines in 2020 when he competed with top winners Danny Willett and Martin Kaymer – as well as former world number one Lee Westwood – at the ISPS Handa UK Championships. The first time a disabled golfer played on a professional European tour.

Lawlor, born with Ellis of Creveld syndrome, a rare genetic condition characterized by short limb dwarfism, has no knuckles on top of his fingers. While welcoming his platform as a leading golfer in the field of disability and the opportunities it offers, the Irishman is careful not to identify himself and his teammates with their disabilities.

Lawlor and two-time winner Colin Morikawa (center right) at the DP World Championships in Dubai, November 2021.

“We get these great opportunities because we do unnatural things – we should not be able to do what we can do with a putter or a golf ball,” he said.

“So we get these opportunities because we are disabled athletes, but I do not like it when people categorize you and put you in the handicap category, because golf is for everyone – you play at any level.”

“This is the beautiful thing about our game,” he added. “Yes, we play handicapped golf on a handicapped tour, but if you are good enough to play with healthy golfers on the European tour, you will get that opportunity.”

Heading in the right direction

Lawlor became a professional in September 2019 and signed a contract with Modest! Golf Management, a company founded by fellow Irish singer-songwriter Niall Horan. The former One Direction star, a proponent of golf for the disabled, is now a good friend.

Lawlor stands with the World Disability Invitation Cup alongside Niall Horan.

“He’s really changed my life – since I signed, he’s brought me some amazing ratification deals and really embraced paragolf,” Lawlor said. “He’s just a very nice guy and he will do anything to help you.”

And as if an extremely successful music career is not enough, Horan is also an impressive golfer currently playing with a handicap of eight.

golf prince

Horan was not the only famous face that Nadi chose along with Lawlor. In April, the Irishman sent swing tips to the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Lawlor was promoting the fifth edition of the Invictus Games, an international event for wounded military veterans and veterans, with Prince Harry as the Games Foundation’s patron.

Prince Harry gets a golf bottle from Lawlor.

Using a golf simulator room, Lawlor spent the day teaching lessons to veterans from around the world who shared their stories of various fights, both physical and mental.

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“These guys tried golf for the first time and handled the ball,” Lawlor said. “It only takes one person to participate and start the game and it can get more people in it.”
And how was the swing of the Duke of Sussex? Lawlor says it’s not bad at all.

“I grabbed the bat and adjusted a thing or two and it hit it well,” Lawlor added. “He was really a beautiful boy.”

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