WHILE the golfing world’s attention turns to next month’s Ryder Cup, one of the region’s players will have his eyes on a different prize.
World champion Darren Grey, from Darlington, has been selected to take part in the Fightmaster Cup – the one-armed equivalent of the Ryder Cup.
Mr Grey, 25, was crowned the one-armed golf world champion and moved top of the world rankings in June, at the Nairn and Dunbar Golf Club, in Scotland.
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He plays in 25 tournaments a year and has landed a place in the Society of One-Armed Golfers, representing the Rest of the World, to play against the North American One- Armed Golf Association.
The tournament is being held on European soil for the first time – at St Pierre Golf and Country Club, in Chepstow, Wales, from Thursday, to Sunday, September 12. Like the Ryder Cup, two teams of 12 golfers compete over foursomes, fourballs and singles matches.
Mr Grey said: “I’ve had a busy year and I am very proud to be the world champion. The Fightmaster Cup gives us a great opportunity to compete as a team against the world’s leading one-armed golfers and my aim now is to win the tournament this year.”
Mr Grey was born without the lower half of his left arm.
He took up golf as a child and adapted his game to overcome his disability.
At 14, and a student at Longfield School, he landed a hole-in-one at the ninth hole at Darlington Golf Club, where he is still a member.
Mike Cole, one of the event sponsors, said: “My son, Graham, is a one-armed golfer so I am committed to supporting the Fightmaster Cup. The tournament makes a positive statement about golf and shows that it is not elitist.”
The Fightmaster Cup was named in honour of Don Fightmaster, who was described as the Arnold Palmer of amputee golf by Time Magazine.
He took up golf after losing his left arm at the age of 22, in a car accident. He still plays aged 78.
The Ryder Cup, between Europe and the US, takes place three weeks after the Fightmaster Cup.