Ambassadors

Sir John Key

Sir John Key

Sir John Key was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 2008 to 2016, where he won 3 general elections as leader of the centre-right National Party. He led the country through the aftermath of the global financial crisis and a series of devastating earthquakes in Christchurch. When he retired from office, New Zealand enjoyed one of the best fiscal positions and highest growth rates of any advanced economy. Sir John was well respected in international affairs. He became head of the International Democrat Union and in 2016, chaired the United Nations Security Council.

Prior to entering politics in 2002, Sir John Key worked in investment banking. In a career spanning 20 years, he held positions at the Bankers Trust in New Zealand and for Merrill Lynch in their Singapore, London and Sydney offices. His posts included heading Merrill Lynch’s global foreign exchange, alongside responsibility for European derivative trading and E. Commerce. In 1999, Sir John was invited to join the Foreign Exchange Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

He grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he gained a degree in accountancy and later undertook short course studies at Harvard University. Sir John Key is married to Bronagh and is father to Stephie and Max. He is a keen golfer and rugby fan.

Edna Kenny

Edna Kenny

Enda Patrick Kenny is an Irish politician of the Fine Gael party who served as Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) from 2011 to 2017, following a historic victory at the 2011 general election with his party becoming the largest in the state for the first time. During his two terms in office, he led Ireland from its worst recession to a period of unprecedented prosperity with Ireland becoming the fastest growing European economy in the last three years. He counts a number of successes under his leadership: Ireland gained full access to the financial markets in 2013; unemployment more than halved; borrowing rates plummeted; and Ireland became the first country to allow for same sex marriages via

public referendum. He also changed the relationship between the Irish Government and the Catholic Church with an uncompromising condemnation of a series of scandals exposed within the Church. In 2013 he conducted the Presidency of the EU and oversaw the agreement of its budget of €960 billion. He is the longest-serving TD currently in Dáil Éireann, which makes him the incumbent Father of the Dáil. Mr Kenny now represents ISPS Handa as its Patron and Ambassador in support of its efforts in blind and disabled golf and shares Dr Handa’s vision to inspire through the power of sport.

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao is a Filipino professional boxer and born in 1978. He left his family during his teenage years in the hope of pursuing a career in boxing. He started the sport when he was 14 and turned professional two years later.

Pacquiao's impeccable footwork, speed and quick jabs have resulted in 60 wins, 39 by KO. He has defeated 20 world champions across his career including the likes of Ricky Hatton. Pacquiao was the first boxer in history to win four of the original eight weight classes including flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight (also known as the glamour divisions). Furthermore, he has won 9 major titles and was named ‘Fighter of the Decade’ for 2000s by the WBO, WBC and BWAA.

More recently in 2016, Pacquiao was ranked number 2 on ESPN’s list of top pound for pound boxers and in many other news and boxing websites. Throughout his career he has generated approximately $1.2 billion in revenue and 19.2 million pay per view buys from his 23 pay-per-view bouts. According to Forbes, Pacquiao was the highest paid athlete in the world in 2015.

Dan Carter

Dan Carter

Daniel William Carter ONZM is one of New Zealand’s most respected sportsmen. Dan played for the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team from 2003 – 2015 and is the highest point scorer in test match rugby. He is considered by many experts as the greatest ever fly-half in the history of the game and is a Rugby Centurion with 112 international caps. He currently plays for Kobelco Steelers in Japan.

Among Dan’s many accolades, he was named the International Rugby Board Player of the Year in 2005, 2012 and 2015, has won three Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, and nine Tri-Nations and Rugby Championships with the All Blacks. Carter injured himself in 2011 during the 2011 Rugby World Cup but was a key member of the 2015 Rugby World Cup-winning team, becoming one of only twenty dual Rugby Union World Cup winners.

In the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final against Australia, he successfully kicked four penalties, two conversions and a drop goal. He was named the Man of the Match and was awarded the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year 2015. In 2016, he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby. Dan is married to Honor and has two young sons, Marco and Fox.

Francois Pienaar

Francois Pienaar

Francois Pienaar is a true South African icon. He is best known for leading the South African rugby team, the Springboks, to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, where he received the trophy from Nelson Mandela.

The Springboks’ legendary campaign and how a once divided nation became world champions was the subject of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar nominated film “Invictus” with Morgan Freeman playing Mandela and Matt Damon playing Francois. 

Francois captained the Springbok rugby team in every one of his 29 appearances, culminating in World Cup victory in 1995. He was named 1994’s International Rugby Player of the Year and 1995’s Captain of the Year and was inducted into the IRB Hall of fame in 2011. He was also voted 50th in the top 100 greatest South Africans.

Francois holds law degrees from the University of Johannesburg and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire. He is a highly respected and successful businessman and television commentator and established Advent Sport Entertainment and Media in 2009, a leading multimedia rights organisation in youth sport and entertainment. He is also a Saracens board member. Francois is married to Nerine and they have two sons, Jean and Stephane.

Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips is the son of HRH The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips and the eldest grandchild of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Peter followed in the family tradition and went to school at Gordonstoun in Scotland before completing his degree at Exeter University. Through his time at both Gordonstoun and Exeter, Peter played aged group and top level rugby. Upon leaving Exeter, Peter embarked on an 11-year experience in Formula One which including working for the Stewart Grand Prix, Jaguar Racing and Williams teams before joining RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland) and designing and running their Formula One sponsorship of the Williams team.

Peter’s role developed at his time with RBS to becoming Global Head of Sponsorship which included other assets such as the RBS 6 Nations, sponsorship of three of the four majors in golf, cricket and associations with some of the great names of sport such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Jack Nicholas and Sachin Tendulkar.

Peter left RBS in 2012 and set up Sports & Entertainment Ltd (SEL UK Ltd) with long time friends James Erskine and Basil Scaffidi. SEL is a market leader in the sports and entertainment world, creating such events as The Patron’s Lunch as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations and bringing the world renowned Global Champions Tour show jumping to Horse Guards Parade in London for the first time.

Alexis Noel “Lexi” Thompson

Alexis Noel “Lexi” Thompson

Broke onto the scene when she became the youngest golfer ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. She turned professional in June 2010 at only 15 years old. Just over a year later, she won the Navistar LPGA Classic and in the process became the youngest winner of an LPGA Tour event in history.

Lexi now 23, boasts 12 professional wins, 9 on the LPGA Tour including one major (Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2014). She has 3 Solheim Cup appearances to her name and has won it twice. Other notable achievements: she claimed the Vare Trophy (given to player with lowest scoring average) and the Race to the CME Globe in 2017.

Lexi has been close to claiming the World No.1 spot, she’s been ranked inside the top 4 of the Official Rolex Women’s Golf Rankings since May 2017.

Rafael Cabrera Bello

Rafael Cabrera Bello

Rafa enjoyed a successful amateur career. He claimed the Spanish National Championship every year from Under-7 to Under-18. He turned pro at the age of 20 in 2005, having narrowly missed out on a European Tour card at final qualifying school but played well enough to earn Challenge Tour privileges. It only took him one year to achieve promotion after winning for the first time as a professional at the MAN NÖ Open in Austria.

Rafa has 6 professional wins, 3 on the European Tour. His biggest accomplishment was winning the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, a Rolex Series event. He made his Ryder Cup debut in 2016 where he went undefeated over 3 matches. He is currently ranked inside the Top 30 in the world.

Minjee Lee

Minjee Lee

Born in Perth, Australia, Minjee Lee had a very successful amateur career. She reached World Number 1 in February 2014 before turning pro in September 2014 at 19 years old.

She’s won 7 times as a professional, 4 times on the LPGA Tour. Her most recent victory came at the Volvik Championship in May 2017. Her best Major performance was at the ANA Inspiration in 2017 where she finished T-3.

In Gee Chun

In Gee Chun

In Gee has 14 professional wins across the US, Europe and Asia. In 2015, she became the first player in history to win majors on three different tours in the same calendar year.

She’s won two LPGA Major Championships: 2015 U.S. Women’s Golf Championship and the 2016 Evian Championship with a score of 21 under par, which is the lowest winning score in a major Championship for either men or women. She is only the second player in history to win majors as her first two LPGA titles.

Her best Official Rolex Women Golf Ranking is 3rd which she achieved for the first time in September 2016.

Lee Westwood OBE

Lee Westwood OBE

One of the very best of his generation, Lee Westwood has accumulated 42 professional wins since turning pro in 1996. Lee is one of very few golfers who has won tournaments on five continents – Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australia – including 23 European Tour victories and 2 PGA Tour victories. In October 2010, Westwood became the World No.1 ending the reign of Tiger Woods and becoming the first British golfer since Nick Faldo in 1994 to hold that position.

A veteran of the Ryder Cup, Westwood has starred in the last 10 European sides for the bi-annual event and was also named player of the year for the 1998, 2000 and 2009 seasons.

Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie

Born in 1989, Michelle started playing golf at the age of 4 and showed immense potential from a young age setting multiple records. One of these was qualifying for the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at the age of 10.

Following a successful amateur career, she turned pro in 2005 and was the youngest to qualify for an LPGA Tour event in 2004. Michelle studied at Stanford University from 2007 till 2012 and credits her parents as the individuals most influencing her career. During her time studying, she joined the LPGA Tour in 2009 and has since won five times. Her first major win was at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014.

Michele has played in five Solheim Cups every two years since 2009 and will look to make it three wins in a row in 2019.

Ernie Els

Ernie Els

World Golf Hall of Famer, The Big Easy, Ernie Els is widely regarded as one of the greatest South African golfers of all time. Amassing 71 career victories including 4 Major titles, Els is known for his immense naturally gifted talent and rhythmical golf swing.

Ernie Els was destined for greatness after breaking Gary Players record when he became the youngest ever South African Amatuer Champion just a few months after his 17th birthday. Following turning pro in 1989, Els went on to win The Sunshine Tour Order of Merit twice before a breakthrough Major win at the 1994 US Open. Ernie went on to become a 28-time European Tour Winner, 19-time PGA Tour Winner and one of six golfers to win both the US Open and Open Championship twice.

Emiliano Grillo

Grillo with a golf club

After turning professional in 2011, Emiliano finished in the top 10 in his very first European Tour start at the 2012 Africa Open and went onto become a regular contender on tour. He achieved 14 top 10 finishes over the next four years, including a runner up finish at the 2014 Dubai Desert Classic.

Having being invited to play at the 2015 Puerto Rico Open on a sponsor’s exemption, Grillo narrowly missed out on victory, losing out in a play-off but went onto earn enough from his seven PGA Tour starts to qualify for the 2015 Web.com Tour Finals. He finished 2nd on the Finals Money List, helped by an impressive victory at the Web.com Tour Championship, which earned him a PGA Tour Card for the 2016 season. Grillo continued this brilliant form into the 2016 PGA Tour season, winning the season opener, Fry’s.com Open. This victory saw him move into the world top 50 for the first time.

Paula Creamer

Paula Creamer

Paula Creamer had a successful amateur career and was named the American Junior Golf Association player of the year in 2003. She was the top ranked amateur in 2003 and 2004. Paula won the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament by five shots to secure membership on the Tour for the 2005 season and turned professional immediately after at 18 years of age.

During her professional career, she has had 12 professional wins; 10 on the LPGA Tour and 2 on the LPGA of Japan Tour. Her impressive ball striking ability contributed to a major championship win at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2010 at Oakmont. Furthermore, Creamer has been as high as number 2 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Paula has played in seven Solheim Cups every two years since 2005 and will look to represent the United States in 2019 at Gleneagles

Thorbjørn Olesen

Thorbjørn Olesen

Four-time European Tour winner Olesen, has enjoyed considerable success at ISPS events having captured the 2014 ISPS Handa Perth International and 2016 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf with compatriot Søren Kjeldsen.

After turning professional in 2008 he graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2010 earning his 2011 European Tour card. Since then Thorbjørn reached a career high of 33 in the World Golf Rankings picking up 4 European Tour Victories along the way and recording top 10 finishes at The Open Championship in 2012 and The Masters in 2013.

Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko

Despite still being a teenager, Lydia Ko has already rewritten golfing history on a number of occasions. She was the world number 1 amateur for 130 weeks before turning professional in 2013 at the age of 16. Prior to turning pro, Ko had already won four professional events – in doing so, becoming both the youngest ever to win a professional event and the youngest ever to win on the LPGA Tour. The records didn’t stop there and in February 2015, Ko became the youngest golfer ever, male or female, to be ranked no. 1 in the world at just 17 years, 9 months and 8 days.

With 17 professional wins to date, including two major titles, Ko has achieved so much for someone that has yet to even turn 20 and looks set to dominate the sport for years to come.

Away from golf, in April 2014, Ko was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and in both 2014 and 2015, she was named in the EspnW Impact25 list of twenty-five athletes who have made the greatest impact for women in sports.

Victor Dubuisson

Victor Dubuisson

Dubuisson turned professional in 2010 after playing in The Open Championship, and qualified for the European Tour at that year's qualifying school.

He ended 52nd in the 2012 Race to Dubai. He won for the first time as a professional at the 2013 Turkish Airlines Open. With seven top 10s, he ranked sixth at the 2013 Race to Dubai.

Dubuisson finished second in the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship to Jason Day & finished 9th at the 2014 Open Championship and 7th at the PGA Championship; Also qualifying directly to represent the winning European team at the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Charley Hull

Charley Hull

Charley first took up golf at the age of five. She had a successful amateur career, represented GB&I in the Curtis Cup Team and was ranked number three in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Charley made her professional debut in 2013 on the Ladies European Tour and also won Rolex Rookie of the Year. Charley was selected to compete in the 2013 Solheim Cup, the youngest ever player in the tournament.

Charley had her first professional win at the Lalla Meryem Cup and became the youngest winner of the Ladies European Order of Merit in 2014. She earned her full LPGA tour car in 2015 and was automatically selected for the Solheim Cup team. She played in all 5 matches and won 4 points, the highest of any European team member.

Charley recorded a second place finish at the first major of 2016 and qualified to represent England in the UL International Crown. In addition, she competed for Great Britain in the Rio Olympic Games and recently topped off the 2016 season in style by winning the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship.

Dame Laura Davies CBE

Dame Laura Davies with golf club in hand

Dame Laura Davies is the United Kingdom’s most accomplished and decorated professional female golfers of modern times. With more than 80 professional wins worldwide to her name, including 20 on the LPGA Tour and four major titles, Davies was deservedly inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in July 2015.

As well as winning the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit a record seven times, Davies also became the first non-American to finish a season on top of the LPGA Money List in 1994. Alongside her impressive individual records, Davies holds the record for the most appearances in the Solheim Cup (12) on either the United States or European side, and also holds the record for the most individual points (25) in the history of the competition.

Padraig Harrington

Harrington throwing a ball in the air

A three-time major champion, Padraig Harrington has been one of Europe’s most successful golfers since the turn of the millennium. After turning professional in 1995, it didn’t take Harrington long to make his presence felt, winning on just his 10th start on tour at the 1996 Peugeot Spanish Open. 32 more professional wins have followed to date, with his last victory coming in October 2016 at the Portugal Masters.

Harrington’s first major title came at Carnoustie, in the 2007 Open Championship and he became the first European since 1906 to defend the claret jug a year later at Royal Birkdale. Just three weeks after his second Open title, he became the first European in 78 years to win the PGA Championship. This brilliant 13-month stretch saw him climb to a career high 3rd in the world rankings. He’s also played in six Ryder Cups for Europe, ending up on the winning side on four occasions.

Hideto Tanihara

Tanihara nodding his cap

Hideto was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1978. After turning professional in 2001, he has gone on to have a successful career on the Japan Golf Tour, winning 11 tournaments; his first of which occurred in 2003 at the Mandom Lucido Yomiuri Open. His career boasts appearances in all 4 major championships, with his best performance at The Open Championship in 2006 where he finished T5.

Having travelled to New Zealand early in 2016, Tanihara narrowly missed out on a 12th tour victory at the BMW ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open, but continued his good form soon after at The Crowns tournament, finishing 3rd. His career highlights also include the World Cup where he has represented Japan on 3 occasions, finishing T3 in 2013.

Mike Tindall

Tindall

Mike Tindall MBE is one of England's finest and most loved rugby players. His career began in 1997 when at 18 he joined Bath Rugby Club. Tindall was a talented player and from 2000 onwards he became a regular in the English Rugby team and amassed 75 caps for his country. Tindall was an integral part of the winning England side during the 2003 World Cup in a nail-biting final against Australia. The pinnacle of his career came when Tindall was appointed England captain, this was a clear indication of his true leadership skills and respect from the rugby world.

In 2014 Tindall announced his retirement from professional rugby after almost 20 years and since then he has been heavily involved in charity work. Specifically, Tindall is keen to promote grass roots sports, in rugby this is evident from his coaching at Michinhampton RFC. Tindall is also a keen golfer and has gracefully hosted the ISPS Handa Mike Tindall Annual Celebrity Golf Classic, which is a popular event that attracts a number of celebrities and sporting greats.

Miki Sakai

Miki Sakai

Sakai is a Japanese professional golfer who plays on the LPGA of Japan Golf Tour and is ranked inside the top 100 in the Official Rolex Women's Golf Rankings. Since turning professional Sakai has won numerous times on the LPGA of Japan including two victories in the 2014 season at the Earth Mondahmin Cup and the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Women's Open Golf Tournament.

Yoshinori Fujimoto

Yoshinori Fujimoto

Born in 1989, Yoshinori began his professional career in 2012 where he quickly won his first title on tour at the Japan Golf Tour Championship Citibank Cup Shishido Hills with a 2 shot victory later in the season. His career includes multiple top 10 finishes in some of the Japan Golf Tour’s showcase/main event, including the BMW ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open.

Jan Stephenson

Jan Stephenson

An Australian professional golfer who won three major championships and 16 LPGA Tour events.

She became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1974 and won three major championships and 16 LPGA Tour events in all. Stephenson was a contestant in the 2011 season of Dancing with the Stars on Channel Seven.