A United front for Ronan's charity day
IT is the fundraiser where sporting legends, Hollywood actors, and pop stars tee off together.
But the annual Marie Keating Golf Classic took place yesterday at the K Club without any of the usual fanfare.
Named in honour of his late mother, the event is staged every year by Ronan Keating to raise funds for cancer research.
However, no media were invited to cover yesterday's event in Co Kildare because of fears that it would be overrun by reporters more interested in the Boyzone singer's marriage problems than happenings on the Arnold Palmer course.
One lensman who did gain access, freelance photographer Mark Doyle, was personally thanked by Ronan Keating yesterday for not turning up outside his Malahide home in recent months.
"Ronan just told me he appreciated that I hadn't been at his house taking pictures. He seemed in great form yesterday," Mr Doyle told the Irish Independent.
The 33-year-old pop star, a father of three, was still wearing his wedding ring.
This despite a statement issued last week that reiterated a release in May announcing his separation from wife Yvonne Keating.
It added: "The situation as outlined in that statement remains the same and the couple continue to work together for their children."
But it was driving rain rather the press pack that put a dampener on Keating's golf day yesterday, as players including Steve Staunton, Niall Quinn, Ray Houghton, Bobby Charlton, Ron Atkinson, Sharon Smurfit and Brian Ormond, were forced to abandon the course because of downpours in the afternoon.
Earlier in the day, event organisers had freed up the course to allow former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to play a round.
Ms Rice is on a tour of Ireland's most famous links, having visited the Royal Dublin Golf Club last Thursday.
A PR spokesperson for the Marie Keating Classic did not return calls from the Irish Independent last night, nor did a spokesman for the Marie Keating Foundation.
Last Saturday night, the Irish Independent can reveal, the K Club was also the setting for a 70th birthday party for Ronan's father, Gerry Keating, which was attended by family members.