On the eve of the Australian golf season, Stuart Appleby has pledged his support to the development of junior golf and the work of beyondblue in raising community awareness of depression. Appleby will donate $2000 for every birdie he scores during the 2006 MFS Australian Open, MasterCard Masters and the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship and to get the ball rolling has committed to a minimum of $50,000. All monies raised will be equally distributed to the Stuart Appleby Junior Golf Foundation and beyondblue: the national depression initiative. “I love coming home to Australia to play, and if I can assist in the development of golf and raising some awareness about depression, then even better,” Appleby said as he began his preparations in Sydney. “The Stuart Appleby Junior Golf Foundation is embarking on a statewide primary schools program in Victoria in 2007 and with that goes the need for additional resources. I&aposm hoping some of the money raised through this initiative will see us take a golfing program to 10,000 young girls and boys next year,” he added. “If me scoring some birdies helps make people more aware of depression, then I&aposm more than happy to help.” The Chairman of beyondblue Jeff Kennett said: “We at beyondblue thank Stuart Appleby most sincerely for this generous act which will not only raise the profile of beyondblue and depression, among elite sportsmen and women, but also the community of Australia.” “Stuart comes from the rural town of Cohuna in northern Victoria where his family continues to farm, and as a result he knows only too well the challenges facing rural communities as a result of the continuing drought conditions. We appreciate his efforts in helping beyondblue tackle depression in country Australia.” Young Australian rookie, Steven Bowditch, knows first-hand the importance of these initiatives and said, “Having experienced depression, I am pleased to be working with beyondblue. I want people to know that depression is common and the sooner you get the right treatment, the sooner you&aposre on the road to recovery. You shouldn&apost be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. It can happen to anyone. If you think you may be depressed, even if you&aposre not sure, talk to your doctor.” In launching the birdie initiative, Stuart challenged any corporate organisations to match him dollar for dollar.