In times of need, support comes from many quarters and European Tour caddies Billy Foster and Ian ‘Fino’ Finnis are among those helping people affected by the Coronavirus crisis, by auctioning golfing memorabilia for fundraising campaigns.
Foster raised over £35,000 for the NHS in the UK and ‘Fino’ raised £125,000 to support caddies through the European Tour Caddies Association.
‘Fino’, caddie for Tommy Fleetwood, started auctioning golfing memorabilia in the hope of raising £10,000 to support those out of work while no events are being played, but smashed that initial target tenfold as fellow caddies and players got behind the initiative.
“There are a lot people out there struggling, including caddies which is the world I live in now,” he said.
“Very few caddies make a real living in the role and lot of them are now not being paid so I thought be nice to try and do something for them.”
Massive massive thanks everyone who helped with these raffles, unreal support from my fellow caddies an players!! £125 000 pounds is out of this world!!!!Will get winners sheet out tomorrow so please be patient. Stay safe ❤️— ian finnis (@FinoEFC) April 25, 2020
This shows we are one big family.
The initiative started with a Ryder Cup bib, auctioned for £10 for a ticket with 1,000 tickets. They sold in just 2 ½ 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,” Fino 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.”
So close £100k if we get there by 7pm tomorrow will add this one off item!!! @usopengolf course record 63 bib signed by @TommyFleetwood1 and official score card! PLEASE RETWEET #usopenhistory £10 a ticket https://t.co/fnq6kp6h2x pic.twitter.com/aoFVVzNkPo— 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 Fino. “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.”