Golf: Prostate Cancer UK’s campaign receives critical acclaim from Ryder Cup stars Iain Woosnam and Sam Torrance
09:45 23 September 2016
Golf icons hope new campaign can save even more lives
Prostate Cancer UK’s drive to save lives through golf has earned acclaim from a clutch of former Ryder Cup stars.
Iain Woosnam and Sam Torrance, who have played and captained Europe in the hotly-contested biannual showdown against the United States, were joined by Ronan Rafferty, Barry Lane and Paul Broadhurst in the field at the recent Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open.
Together with European Senior Tour stalwarts Andrew Murray and Paul Wesselingh – two men who have seen friends and family affected by the disease – the high-profile contingent praised the charity’s work in raising the profile of a disease that will affect one in eight men in the UK.
A clutch of stars also took part in a fun video to promote Prostate Cancer UK’s Chipping In initiative (prostatecanceruk/chippingin), in which players of all abilities can cash in on their golfing gaffes from tee to green, and anywhere in between, throughout October.
Paying a fine for every mistake made, the money raised will help Prostate Cancer UK find better ways to detect, treat and prevent a disease that kills one man every hour in the UK.
Special scorecards with allotted fine boxes will be available for players to set targets, and the monetary menu of mishaps includes lost balls, air-shots, three-putts, triple bogies and shots that go out of bounds or are bunker-bound, with fine amounts set at the start of the round.
Woosnam said: “The stats about prostate cancer are amazing, so it’s great that we are able to help raise awareness. I’m very aware of the disease and have been to the doctor. It’s important that men go and get checked out.”
Torrance added: “Cancer is something we have to get rid of. There are many forms of it and prostate cancer is one we need to help. I was made aware of it around the age of 50 and have been keeping an eye on it since.”
Former European Tour number one Rafferty said: “One in eight is a shocking statistic, as is for us all to be completely unaware of this very curable disease. Anything we do through sport and the game of golf to make all people, let alone all men, aware of this has got to be a good thing.”
More than 40,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, making it the most common type of cancer among men. Men over the age of 50 – the average age of golfers in the UK – are more at risk of developing the disease, making the organisation’s extensive work within the game even more pertinent.
Wesselingh, whose father and brother have both been affected by the disease, added: “It’s great to be associated with such a great charity and, for me, it’s close to my heart.
“It was shocking to hear about both of them being affected. Any type of cancer is devastating, but you then have to deal with it as best you can. My dad’s 91 and still having treatment now, and thankfully my brother has got through it. There is good treatment for it, and there are options if you catch it early. That family link makes me high risk so I’m very aware of it, and I get tested every six months.”
For the second successive year, the charity once again put its name to a high-profile event on the European Senior Tour, with the primary aim to raise money and awareness amongst golfers at the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open, which took place at Archerfield Links Golf Club from August 19-21.
Broadhurst, who won the inaugural Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open just days after qualifying for the Tour when turning 50, said: “This disease affects my age bracket and those of the players on the European Senior Tour, so the game of golf and the charity are a great fit. It’s a taboo subject with men not being fond of going to the doctors, so we need to change that.
“It’s scary to think how many people are affected when you equate it to how long a round of golf lasts. It’s really important we get behind this.”
Five-time European Tour winner and 1993 Ryder Cup player Lane admitted the inaugural event 12 months earlier had inspired him to take action.
He said: “I knew it was going to be the charity of the tournament last year, but I didn’t realise how it affected so many men, and their families, so I headed straight for a blood test the week after the tournament. It’s so simple to do. I advise people to go and see a doctor and have it done. It’s a terrible thing to have it but if you catch it early, you can do things about it.”
Murray, who spoke on behalf of the charity at Archerfield, saw his mentor Brian Nield diagnosed around six years ago. He noted: “Awareness is so important, and just to think in a four- or five-hour round that four or five people could die of prostate cancer who might not need to is a scary stat.
“Brian was the guy who taught me how to play golf when I was 10, and first employed me as an assistant professional. He’s survived and, I’m glad to say, back out on the golf course now and we still speak regularly.
“Men aren’t terribly good about looking after their health, so to be able to get the guys I’ve spent most of my life with on the Tour aware of and involved with the charity is fantastic for me. That’s what it’s about: spreading the gospel.”
Prostate Cancer UK’s Director of Fundraising, James Beeby, said: “Golf is a great fit for Prostate Cancer UK but sadly this disease is not out of bounds. One in eight men will be affected by prostate cancer in their lifetime in the UK, but by chipping in, you and your mates can help us fight back.
“From a wayward slice off the tee or three frustrating putts on the green, not to mention an unceremonious dip in the water or a stint in the sand, mistakes happen to players of all abilities. But what if those errors helped make a real difference to men’s health?
“Through the stellar work from club captains across the UK and our partnership with the European Senior Tour, our presence is spreading throughout golf. And to be able to get players together in October – and beyond – will help us to drive home this hugely important message.
“Ignoring prostate cancer will not beat it, and we want to raise awareness and fund ground-breaking research to help fight the disease. The money raised will help us provide dedicated support and information to men and their loved ones.
“From holding a golf day, taking on our Chipping In challenge or wearing our badge, any golfers who have joined the fight with us are the perfect example of Men United – our team of people joining together to fight a common opponent, prostate cancer.”
To swing into action or find out more about Prostate Cancer UK’s continued work in golf visit our golf web pages at prostatecanceruk/chippingin.