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DP World Tour: Niall Horan backs Brendan Lawlor after speaking out over 'nasty' online comments

Brendan Lawlor received abuse on social media after his appearance on the DP World Tour at the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan; The Irishman released a video highlighting the comments and the damaging impact they could have on disability sport

Image: Brendan Lawlor received online abuse after his appearance on the DP World Tour in Japan

Brendan Lawlor has received the backing of Niall Horan after speaking out in support of fellow disability golfers, following online abuse for his appearance on the DP World Tour last month.

Lawlor, who has played his whole life with Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome - a bone growth disorder that leads to shorter limbs - has been the first disability golfer to compete in DP World Tour and Challenge Tour events.

The world No 2 disability golfer received a sponsor's invite to play in the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan, where he missed the cut after rounds of 81 and 77, with the Irishman mocked about his height and condition online after the DP World Tour posted videos of him during his appearance.

Lawlor earned the public support of Horan after sharing a selection of the negative comments in a social media post, where he also released a lengthy video highlighting the damaging impact the messages could have for disability sport.

"I got a beautiful start in Japan, had a fabulous week, and the DP World Tour shared a video which went viral," Lawlor explained. "It got some amazing feedback, real positive, but unfortunately it got some real negative.

"I just wanted to get on and highlight how bad the negative was and, if you weren't in the frame of mind to take this negativity, of what it could do to people.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 14: Brendan Lawlor of Ireland on the second hole on Day Two of The G4D Event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 14, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)
Image: Lawlor made history as the first golfer with a disability to play on the DP World Tour at The Belfry in 2020

"I'm lucky enough where my condition has never affected me. I've grown up all my life with negative comments and I blew them off with the breeze, but I wanted to hop on and highlight these comments for other people.

"Disability people are putting themselves out there now on a platform, DP World Tour are sharing videos, and I don't want these guys to get slandered online with nasty comments.


"It's going to happen anyway, but we've broken down so many barriers in the world of golf and I feel this was the opportunity for me to highlight this barrier and maybe overcome this one as well.

"These guys are putting themselves out there for other people to put themselves out there and it's a roll-on affect. We're trying to get more disability people into sport in general and I just think the comments are damaging.

Image: Lawlor will be part of the field at the inaugural G4D Open this month

"I'm all for equality of opportunity and that's what we're showcasing on the DP World Tour. I hope we can go further and comments like this don't affect our players and people in general."

Lawlor will be among the players in action at the inaugural G4D Open from May 10-12, a three-day event at Woburn featuring 80 of the world's most talented golfers with disabilities.

The championship, held in partnership with The R&A and the DP World Tour and supported by EDGA (formerly the European Disabled Golf Association), will be one of the most inclusive ever staged, featuring nine sports classes across multiple impairment groups.

Fourteen of the top 20 players from the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) are in the field, with Sky Sports showing a one-hour highlights programme from the event the week after the tournament.

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