Among the 45,000 spectators at last week’s Ryder Cup were a group of 24 servicemen from the British Armed Forces, attending Gleneagles’ event free of charge courtesy of the PGA and charity Tickets for Troops.
Tickets for Troops was set up in 2009 to provide members of the Armed Forces with free tickets for major sporting events. With the Ryder Cup being staged on British soil, PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said the gesture was a worthwhile recognition of the sacrifice made by people serving their country.
“I think it is really important that these guys, who’ve gone on the front line for us, get a little bit back,” said Jones.
“I think Tickets for Troops is magnificent. I see the guys at soccer matches, and at other major events, and when you see the pleasure the guys get it’s great that the PGA and the Ryder Cup can support them in this way.”
Lord Marland, chairman of Tickets For Troops, was quick to thank the PGA for its allocation of tickets, especially given the stature of the Ryder Cup.
"The Ryder Cup is one of the sporting highlights of the calendar and tickets were like gold dust." - Lord Marland
“We are extremely grateful to the PGA, for their commitment and generosity they show towards our deserving Armed Forces,” said Marland.
“The Ryder Cup is one of the sporting highlights of the calendar and tickets were like gold dust so it really is just fantastic that so many servicemen and women were given the opportunity to enjoy world class competition in such magnificent surroundings.”
Ryder Cup not the only perk for troops
As well as supporting Tickets for Troops, the PGA also runs a successful Golf Buddy programme, which pairs up PGA pros with injured soldiers to help them rehabilitate through golf.
Jones is confident this initiative will lead to golf becoming more inclusive for all.
"Golf is not exclusive, it’s very inclusive and this is proof of it." - Sandy Jones
“I think the PGA and golf is for everybody,” he said. “We do a lot for juniors and now we’re doing something for guys who have another life which embraces everybody and that’s always been my wish.
“Golf is not exclusive, it’s very inclusive and this is proof of it.”
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Since launching Tickets for Troops, over 550,000 tickets have been donated with over 140,000 troops registering on its website.
Troops are encouraged to go online and register at www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk to take advantage of the tickets available for Armed Forces personnel.