There has been no shortage of support throughout this coronavirus pandemic for those adversely affected by COVID-19. Our heroes on the frontline have rightly benefitted from the majority of initiatives but with thousands upon thousands of people out of work since the virus took hold in March, many more need our help. Professional golf schedules have been decimated by the pandemic meaning not just players, but their caddies have been out of work on the European Tour for weeks now and with no end in sight.
That’s why people like Ian Finnis, Tour caddie to professional golfer come ATM machine, Tommy Fleetwood is putting his best foot forward to raise funds for struggling caddies at this time.
Finnis reached out to his colleagues to compile a collection of golf memorabilia that has been auctioned off in recent times to generate funds that will be given to the European Tour Caddies Association for distribution amongst those in need.
Having initially hoped to raise £10,000, incredibly, Finnis has now surpassed the £125,000 mark while Billy Foster, bagman to Matthew Fitzpatrick, has come on board and raised over £35,000 for the NHS in the UK.
“There are a lot of people out there struggling, including caddies which is the world I live in now,” said Finnis.
“Very few caddies make a real living in the role and lot of them are now not being paid so I thought it would be nice to try and do something for them.”
The initiative started with a Ryder Cup bib, auctioned for £10 for a ticket with 1,000 tickets. They sold in just 2½ hours and the campaign was off to a flying start. More caddies started donating memorabilia as the next target of £30,000 was soon passed, and players have also been adding their support, such as Fleetwood, Danny Willett and Stephen Gallacher offering up a prize of a round of golf or Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari donating golf bags.
“There are lot of people helping out,” Finnis added. “The majority of prizes have come from caddies but this shows we are one big family.
“The proceeds are all going to a good cause and lot of caddies will need this support until we get back to work. This will make a huge difference for many. Hopefully this will give some a little respite for these months until we get playing again.”
— ian finnis (@FinoEFC) April 24, 2020
Foster, caddie for Matt Fitzpatrick, has been on the bag for many of the greats of European golf for almost 40 years including Seve Ballesteros, Thomas Bjørn, Gordon Brand Jnr, Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, and auctioned off some prized possessions to raise money for the NHS in the UK.
“What Billy Foster has done for the NHS has been incredible,” said Finnis. “He has raised over £35k on his own which has been amazing. The NHS are doing an incredible job here along with all frontline workers, delivery drivers, postmen, those working in the supermarkets and so on – they are basically carrying the country.”
Rory McIlroy’s 2019 signed Tour Championship winning bag will be the last prize up for grabs in Finnis’ incredible fundraiser.