Ian Baker-Finch, who enjoyed a memorable triumph at The British Open in 1991, will donate $50,000 to charities in Australia and the UK after returning his Gold Medal to The R&A.
The former champion golfer’s medal will go on display in the clubhouse at the scene of his famous victory at Royal Birkdale, with the proceeds from The R&A being donated to charitable programmes and golf initiatives which the popular Australian supports – Challenge and Redkite, as well as the Golf Foundation in the UK.
Baker-Finch’s Gold Medal will now be showcased alongside other prestigious memorabilia from the ten Open Championships which have been played at the renowned North West links since 1954.
“Many of my charitable activities have focused upon improving the lives of young people and particularly those who are undergoing care and treatment for cancer-related illnesses in Australia,” said the 58-year-old.
“These charities are very close to my heart and I know these funds will make a real difference to the lives of young people and their families. I would like to thank The R&A for its generosity in helping to support these initiatives.”
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “One of Ian’s most enduring qualities is his unstinting acts of kindness and we were delighted to support these charitable activities which clearly mean a lot to him.
“His memorable victory at Royal Birkdale remains one of the great stories in the cherished history of The Open and it is entirely fitting that his Gold Medal should be displayed at the club where he lifted the famous Claret Jug.”
Challenge is a Melbourne-based charity which provides support services to young people diagnosed with cancer and their families and has been in operation since 1983. It opened the Challenge Family Centre in 2011 to complement the existing support offered by the organisation.
Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle, who passed away earlier this year after cancer-related illness, was an ambassador for Challenge and supported its work for many years.
Redkite was founded as The Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children in Australia in 1983 and provides essential support to children, teenagers and young adults with cancer to ensure the best possible quality of life for them and their family.
Funds will also be donated by Baker-Finch to the Golf Foundation in the UK to support its Girls Golf Rocks participation programme which provides taster sessions, weekly coaching and opportunities to play at Par 3 courses.
Youngsters participating in Girls Golf Rocks will receive a 7-Iron for completing a six-week block of activity.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said, “This is a very generous gesture by Ian and The R&A. We would like to thank them for their support in providing funds for our Girls Golf Rocks programme which will help to inspire many young girls into playing golf.”