The European Ryder Cup Team’s stunning final day comeback to beat the Americans at Medinah will be remembered by many for decades to come. Led by their inspirational captain, Jose Maria Olazabal and playing in the spirit of the late, great Seve Ballesteros, the team produced one of sport’s truly memorable achievements late on Sunday evening.
The drama and stroke play even surpassed that seen in the annual Henshaw Pratt versus Copnall and Axon (Parklane Plowden) golf match which resumes this Friday.
But neither of those two events, in my opinion, comes close to the comeback made by a less well known golfer from Switzerland, Pierre Massard. I came across this blog on the internet which tells of Pierre’s inspirational story.
Pierre was rendered paraplegic in a tragic ski accident on 20 May 2004 when he followed an experienced mountain guide across what looked like a “snow bridge”. As Pierre started skiing across it, the bridge gave way and Pierre fell 100 feet down a mountain crevasse.
After 12 months in bed and another 4 years in a wheelchair Pierre decided it was time to fight back. By December 2009 he finally managed to walk, using canes, a distance of 60 metres. From then on he has not looked back.
Within a few more months he was steady enough using one cane to hit a few golf balls. Pierre continued his rehabilitation using sheer determination and will power and on 7 May 2011 he won a golf competition at Montreux Golf Course, competing against 87 able-bodied golfers.
Pierre’s current ambition is to become the Swiss Paragolf Olympic Section if and when it becomes accepted as a Paralympic sport.
Stories like these remind us of the extraordinary things people, who have suffered life changing accidents, can achieve with determination, good rehabilitation and the correct aids and equipment. Our philosophy is to encourage and support all those who have suffered similar experiences and to ensure that the necessary expertise is available to help them achieve these goals.
So well done to the European Ryder Cup team for their magnificent effort in the US but for me the greater golfing comeback belongs to Pierre Massard.