16 The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 1 July 2020 *** Sport Final whistle James Corrigan One-armed golfer’s sights on Shearer O ‘I am the first and only onearmed PGA assistant pro, but I am a pro. I’ll be in there battling for disabled n discovering Alan Shearer is entered in next Monday’s qualifier for the Betfred British Masters, many will ask: “Why is a retired footballer taking on seasoned pros? And why on earth is Lee Cattermole also playing?” The answer, of course, is legend, and I want as many as possible to know that Alan Shearer got beaten in golf by a man with one arm,” Grey tells “I’ll be in there battling for disabled golf and showing what’s possible.” Grey, the 35-year-old father of three, was not specifically invited to play in the 18-hole event featuring 120 competing for a spot in the €1.25 million (£1.13 million) tournament featuring the likes of Lee Westwood on July 22-25. And neither did he wish to be. “Yeah, I am the first and only one-armed PGA assistant pro, but I am a pro nonetheless and want to be treated like any other,” he says. “So I saw the advert and thought, ‘Why not?’ and paid my £125. “I’m not expecting to qualify but, I tell you, I won’t finish last, even though I see my price is the same as Shearer’s at the bottom of the betting market – 750/1. He’ll get a ribbing if I shoot lower. He won’t be the first.” Indeed, Grey has been ridiculing the odds ever since his father took him to a nearby field as a nineyear-old with a cut-down club, preaching the family’s mantra: “Focus on what you can do, rather than worry about what you can’t.” By 13, he was a member of Darlington Golf Club and within three months attracted headlines with a hole in one. At that stage, swimming was the priority for the boy born without the lower half of his left arm, and he was on the Team GB radar for the 2000 Paralympics. But at 15 he found the “sweet spot”, that mystical moment to inspire a lifelong obsession. “I would duff tee-shots and people would mutter, ‘Why are you still trying?’ – and that got me down,” publicity, exposure, eyeballs … call it what you will. And there is absolutely nothing wrong in Close House, the Newcastle venue, ramping up the coverage as it prepares to stage the European Tour’s first top-flight event in more than four months. Certainly, Darren Grey believes so. “It’s brilliant he’s playing. He’s a Grey recalls. “And then, on the first tee that day, I knew as soon as I hit it, ‘That’s it’. It travelled 210 yards and everything clicked. I won my first competition and the critics went from, ‘You’re wasting your time’ to, ‘Wow, that’s amazing’. It felt so good.” From there, golf took Grey around the globe. Four times he appeared for Europe in the Fightmaster Cup, the one-armed equivalent of the Ryder Cup, compiling the remarkable record of played 20, won 17, halved one, lost two. Grey won the World One-Armed Championship and climbed to world No 1. While also competing against the “abled”, he got his name on several clubhouse boards with feats such as shooting two-under at Darlington and one-under at Seaton Carew. Yet something always nagged. “When I was starting out I’d dream of turning pro and last year, I finally achieved it,” Grey says. “I was kicked back by the PGA a few times, as you have to be at least a four-handicap and I was off six. But I persevered, improved and here I am, working at Ingleby Barwick Golf Academy and doing my three-year training. As part of it, I have to play in seven PGA regional events a year. I shot 79 in my first, didn’t come last. “I can hit it 260 [yards] and am very accurate. But coaching is where I’m ultimately looking. My aim is to develop something for disabled golf, perhaps a clinic, as there isn’t much up here. I will need backing, of course. “I teach a guy with one arm and have been told by other people in the same boat as us that golf saved them from depression. If I can help just one person believe that, I’ve won.” Prime target: Alan Shearer is entered in British Masters qualifying and Darren Grey (below) aims to beat the former footballer Telegraph Sport. golf ’ Sport in brief Racing have “unnecessary” medical interventions. “It is time for white men to stop telling women and girls how they should look and to stop messing with our bodies,” said the double 800 metres Olympic champion and poster girl for those with differences of sexual development (DSD). A report commissioned by the UN’s Human Rights Council said sports governing bodies should review or revoke rules that have negative effects on athletes’ rights. In one of the tightest of photo finishes imaginable, jockey Adam Kirby guided home the 12-1 shot Notforalongtime in a thrilling battle with three other horses to win the 3.00 race at Doncaster yesterday. The success for the Clive Cox-trained horse, which was officially by a nose from Indie Angel, came as a surprise to Kirby, who said: “I thought we were beat — but I gave him a pat after the race anyway.” What a finish: Notforalongtime (third from top) edges to victory Athletics Caster Semenya has backed a United Nations report calling for countries not to pressurise athletes like her to
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