Tuesday, May 17

RIP Irish Golf Legend Christy O'Connor Sr.



HALL OF FAMER AND IRISHMAN Christy O'Connor Sr. died over the weekend at the age of 91. O'Connor played on 10 Ryder Cup teams and "won more than 20 important British and Irish tournaments," said the Irish Independent.

Billy Casper lavished praise on O'Connor when I interviewed him for my book about the 1969 Ryder Cup.

"Christy could do more with a 4-wood out of the rough than any man I've ever seen," Casper said.

Irish golf writer Brian Keogh wrote this about O'Connor:
The death at 91 of Christy O'Connor Snr in the small hours of Saturday morning marks the end of an era in world golf and the loss to Ireland of one of its greatest ever sportsmen. 
While he never attained the major championship glory that has come to so many of the modern Irish players from Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke to Graeme McDowell, his achievements were ever bit as great and he leaves a huge mark on the history of the Irish and the world game. 
He was also a modest man. 
"I still can't believe it, and I really in my heart, I am a gentleman and I am absolutely stumped for words," he said at Baltray in 2009 when he gave a press conference to mark the news that he had been voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Read Keogh's complete remembrance of O'Connor.

And from my book, a snapshot of O'Connor in the fall of '69:
O'Connor, 44, the oldest player on either [Ryder Cup] team and the lone Irishman, was continuing a Ryder Cup run that began in 1955 at Thunderbird Ranch & Country Club in Palm Springs. He and Peter Alliss were the most seasoned Ryder Cup Players on the British side....O'Connor was regarded as one of the game's best bad-weather players; despite his advanced age, he was still a force in 1969. Although winless [that season], the Irishman was a serious contender at the British Open after a record-breaking 65 in the second round. He finished fifth. Royal Birkdale would be welcome ground for O'Connor, where in 1968 he won the Alcan International.

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