Henrik Stenson gave one young mega-fan the surprise of his life ahead of defending his Open title at Royal Birkdale.
Seven-year-old Jamie Russell, from South Shields, was enjoying a virtual reality experience in the HSBC Golf Zone and reliving the Swede’s epic final round at Royal Troon, where he took down Phil Mickelson to land his maiden major title.
After finishing off his round with a putt on the 18th, Jamie took off his VR glasses to see Stenson standing right in front of him.
The Open champion was doing this as part of trying to drive sign-ups for ‘HSBC Hour’, an initiative offering an hour of free golf to young people and families during Open week.
“It is important for the game of golf that we continue to reach out to new fans and encourage more people to get into the sport,” said Stenson. “HSBC Hour is a brilliant initiative that aims to bring down the barriers that can stop young people trying golf.
“I hope that my support helps more young people get into the game and who knows maybe one day see their name on the Claret Jug.”
To further encourage participation, HSBC is challenging golf fans to take part in the #10StepChip challenge on social media. It asks fans to attempt a chip into any object, from ten paces, in any setting, and is designed to be as accessible and fun as possible. Prizes are on offer for the most creative uploads to @HSBC_Sport.
For more information, visit theopen.com/hsbchour.