Israeli blind golfer continues to rack up titles

Zohar Sharon began losing his eyesight in the 1970’s, but he only took up golf on a full-time basis in 2000.

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April 12, 2018 05:59
1 minute read.
Israeli blind golfer continues to rack up titles

Israeli golfer Zohar Sharon (left) added yet another title to his long resume when he won the ISPS Handa 2018 US Blind Golf Open at the Haven Golf Course in Green Valley Arizona at the start of the week with the help of caddie Shimshon Levi (right). (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Golfer Zohar Sharon is surely one of Israel’s most dominant athletes.

But what is truly amazing about Sharon is that he doesn’t only beat his rivals time and again, but does so without seeing.

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The 64-year-old has claimed multiple world titles and added yet another major trophy to his collection over the weekend with the help of coach, caddie and best friend Shimshon Levi, winning the ISPS Handa 2018 US Blind Golf Open at the Haven Golf Course in Green Valley Arizona.

“The tournament was very challenging. I competed against the very best, including some youngsters who gave me a run for my money,” said Sharon, who is also hearing impaired and suffers from a host of neurological problems. “But my experience ended up making the difference and I managed to finish in first place.”

Sharon began losing his eyesight in the 1970’s following a chemical injury while working for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), but he only took up golf on a full-time basis in 2000.

He claimed the B1 title, the category of the totally blind, on his debut at the ISPS HANDA World Blind Golf Championship 14 years ago and went on to retain his status as world champion in the five editions of the event since, the last of which was played at the Shinrin-Koen Golf Club in Japan during November 2016.

The International Blind Golf Association was set up in 1998, with Japanese businessman Dr. Haruhisa Handa still providing financial support to the IBGA.



The IBGA is also involved in a bid to introduce disabled or “paragolf” into the Paralympics in 2020.

Thanks to the funding of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization and the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitative department, Sharon and Levi can travel the world and represent Israel with honor.

While not all the competitions award prize money, Sharon, who trains and competes at the Caesarea Golf Club, transfers the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization all his winnings.

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