On the LPGA Tour, Gemma Dryburgh has had a solid start to the season, with the Scot having added incentive to perform well at last week’s Cognizant Founders Cup.
Dryburgh vowed to donate £20 to the Alzheimer’s Society for every birdie she hit over the course of the week at Upper Montclair Country Club, with fellow players Charlotte Thomas, Caroline Inglis, Lauren Kim, and Holly Clyburn joining her in support.
After her Grandma was diagnosed with dementia in February 2020, the Aberdeen-born golfer became associated with the charity, a topic important to her heart.
Delighted to be supporting @alzheimerssoc ahead of Dementia Action Week. My Grandma is living with dementia so it’s a cause close to my heart. I’ll be pledging £20 for every birdie I make this week. Please join me in donating at the link below : https://t.co/Pr8BMtirZM #DAW2022
— Gemma Dryburgh (@gemmadryburgh) May 11, 2022
“They played a big role, her and my Grandpa,” Dryburgh revealed. “Grandpa passed away in 2019, but they were always a big part of my golfing career, and my sporting career as well. I didn’t have much of a career in football, but I played it for a while and they always came to my games, and then with golf as well, they were always there supporting me.
“They were always intrigued to see where I was going next on my travels, and I always called on the road and updated them on how I was doing. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are obviously very personal to me with Grandma going through it at the moment.
“First of all, I heard of their ‘Sports united against Dementia’ campaign, which wants to help people with Dementia have access to sport, and people living with Dementia still being able to be involved in sport. It was kind of a perfect fit really, with me being a golfer and involved in sport.”
The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week, the UK’s longest-running awareness campaign, runs from May 16 to 22, and Dryburgh has a message for anyone affected by dementia.
“It’s mostly about spreading the message about receiving a prompt diagnosis,” she continued.“It’s about assisting folks in getting to their doctor and receiving a diagnosis as soon as possible. That would have been enormous for us. Having that support earlier in Grandma’s dementia journey was invaluable.
“We were seeing symptoms for a good two years before we actually got the diagnosis, and it would have been great to get all that help and support from Alzheimer’s Society earlier on. It would have been amazing, because obviously she was in a better place then, and then deteriorated over those two years.
8 birdies and counting for my birdie pledge for @alzheimerssoc! Excited to be playing the weekend for a chance to raise even more money for a great cause! 💙 link in my bio if you’d like to donate #founderscup pic.twitter.com/VfdjPkDIg9
— Gemma Dryburgh (@gemmadryburgh) May 13, 2022
“I think it’s just about putting the word out, and hopefully my story will help people to know that there is support out there. If you see symptoms, you can get help and support for it. That’s the main thing, and that you’re not alone.”
On the course, Dryburgh reveals she’s hoping to qualify for the Solheim Cup next year after qualifying for the US Open for the first time earlier this month.
“This is my greatest season so far,” Dryburgh stated. “I’ve had a few good weeks, and I’ve also been at the top of the scoreboard on occasion. I haven’t quite cracked the top-10 yet, but I believe I’m close, and I’ve been playing some very excellent golf.
“Winning is one of my objectives. I was extremely close last year; I was tied for the lead after eight holes in the last round, so it’s definitely close, and I’m hoping to get over the finish line.
“Just putting myself in those positions more often will give me the confidence to get it over the line, and definitely one of my goals this year is to win an event because I’ve obviously never done it, so it would be massive for me.