Harrington assumes ambassadorial role for R&A

THREE-TIME major winner Padraig Harrington has expressed his delight at becoming an ambassador for the sport's ruling Royal and Ancient Club.

The Irishman, who won two Open Championships in a row in 2007 and 2008, is the first person to be named a 'Working for Golf' ambassador and will help to promote the work of the R&A while on tour.

As part of his new role he will help coach young people in golf development programmes funded by the club, appear in Rules of Golf multi-media productions, help promote the etiquette of the game and support the work of the R&A Foundation, and take part in biochemical equipment testing sessions.

Harrington, who also won the US PGA in 2008, said it was an opportunity for him to give something back to the sport.

He said: "The R&A has been a constant feature of my development in the game, from playing in boys and amateur events through to winning The Open Championship.

"I appreciate all the guidance and opportunities they provided along the way. I am delighted to have this opportunity to give something positive back to the game, particularly in those countries around the world where golf is still in its infancy, introducing boys and girls to golf so they can benefit from the values that the game teaches you."

The Dubliner has already done his first act as an ambassador when he announced the R&A's continued support for grassroots programmes in Ireland with more than 200,000 worth of investment being put in over the next three years.

Harrington said it was this kind of work that encouraged him to get involved.

"I am constantly amazed at how much the R&A do for the game worldwide from development to the rules, etiquette and other areas," he said.

"The more I learnt the more I wanted to get involved in their work and, given that I play a global schedule, I am well-placed to assist on various projects around the world."

Chief executive of the R&A Peter Dawson thinks Harrington is a great person to help spread the message of golf development from the organisation's base at St Andrews and was a key part in helping golf reclaim a place at the Olympics, where it has not been for over a century.

He said: "Padraig is a role model in the game and when he offered his time to support our golf development and rules education activities, we recognise the potential to reach the widest possible audience. His active involvement in golf's bid to rejoin the Olympic Games was an important factor in our success in what is a key development for the future growth of the game."