Organisations in Australia and abroad have made tremendous efforts to support the Australian bushfire fundraising efforts. Golf is one of many sports doing their best to support those affected around the country.
In a five-week span in which four 2019 Presidents Cup participants – two from the International Team and two from the U.S. Team – won on the PGA TOUR, the Presidents Cup and partner organizations have combined to generate more than $1.1 million (USD) for Australia bushfire relief efforts.
During the week of the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, which was won by Australia’s Cameron Smith, International Team Captain Ernie Els announced an additional donation of $125,000 from their 2019 charitable funds for the cause. The Presidents Cup and the PGA TOUR matched that donation.
Additionally, U.S. Team Captain Tiger Woods announced today that the U.S. Team members also united for a separate donation of $125,000 from their 2019 charitable commitments for the cause, which the Presidents Cup and PGA TOUR have also matched.
This $500,000 total was donated alongside Greg Norman’s efforts and an accompanying donation of $250,000 from the Greg Norman charities for a total of $750,000 for the American Australian Association that established a Bushfire Relief Fund which will use 100 percent of donations to support fire response efforts throughout Australia.
Also in January, Australian PGA TOUR players and 2019 International Team members Marc Leishman and Smith announced that they would donate funds for every birdie and eagle made at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Smith, who happened to go on to win the event, and Leishman were joined by Matt Jones, Rhein Gibson, Cameron Davis, Cameron Percy and Parker McLachlin, who collectively pledged more than $26,000 as part of their efforts. The Presidents Cup matched their pledges to create a total donation of more than $52,000.
Leishman’s Begin Again Foundation also vowed to match general donations up to $5,000. Leishman, who hails from Victoria, elected to support The Victorian County Fire Authority, while Smith, a Queenslander, tabbed The Queensland Fire and Rescue team as the recipients of his contribution.
On Monday, January 27, The Premiers Cup, hosted by Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, Australia, was held at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club and raised more than $380,000 (USD) to go directly to the families most affected by the fires. As part of the event, custom golf carts signed by the International and U.S. Team members and captains were auctioned off in addition to other PGA TOUR and Presidents Cup items to help raise money.
“I want to thank the rest of the International Team for their contributions to the cause and I know all of Australia – and particularly the victims – will be very grateful,” Leishman said.
Added Els: “The International Team was made to feel at home and felt tremendous support and hospitality from the great people of Australia. Our players came together to pitch in to help the efforts of these tragic fires, the brave men and women in harm’s way and those impacted by the devastation.”
“The fans in Australia have always done so much to support golf, the Presidents Cup and the PGA TOUR,” Woods said. “It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation that these fires are creating. As a team, we hope that our contribution can play a small role in helping those effected and can serve to push others to contribute to the cause.”
“Our thoughts go out to the communities impacted by the horrendous bushfires in Australia, including those who have sacrificed to fight the fires or deal with their aftermath. It’s been overwhelming to see the output of support by the Australian and international community to support bushfire relief efforts,” said Greg Norman. “With the support of my fans, colleagues and business associates, we hope to send a strong signal to our friends in Australia that the international community is there during their time of need.”
Mr. Andrews said that the bushfires had touched people around the world.
“I thank everyone in the golfing community who has dug deep to support people affected by this summer’s bushfires – the response had been extraordinary.” Mr. Andrews said. “It’s been a difficult time for many communities in our state, but with the support of organisations like the Presidents Cup and individuals like Marc Leishman, a proud Victorian, we will recover.”
“It is heartwarming and comes as no surprise to see our players lend their support for the current crisis here in Australia,” said Presidents Cup Executive Director Matt Kamienski. “Having worked and lived in Australia for the past two editions of the Presidents Cup in 2011 and 2019, it is difficult to witness what this community has endured over the last several weeks. Our thoughts are with those who have experienced a loss during this time, and we thank those who continually raise their hand to fight these bushfires.
“The Presidents Cup and the PGA TOUR have been welcomed with open arms in all of our visits to Australia and we hope our involvement will positively impact the community that gave so much to the event.”
To contribute to either one of these organizations, please visit their respective donation sites below:
Begin Again Foundation: http://beginagainfoundation.com/donate/.
The Victorian Country Fire Authority https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/supporting-cfa#donate-cfa
The Queensland Fire and Rescue team http://www.givit.org.au/disasters.