Friday 20 January 2017

Small ball suits O'Brien just fine

Published 29/06/2011 | 05:00

RONNIE O'Brien, a native of Bray, who was once on the books of Juventus, has made the transition from professional soccer player to a new career as a golf professional.

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O'Brien (32) has enjoyed an interesting career. He was a member of the Irish side which famously won the European U-18 championships in 1998. His first professional contract was with Middlesbrough, but when they gave him a free transfer in 1999, he was awarded a five-year contract with Juventus.

Most of his time there was spent on loan stints with other Italian clubs and with Dundee United.

In 2002 he moved on to the USA's Major League, and enjoyed a successful career with Dallas Burn, Toronto and San Jose Earthquakes, before retiring in 2008.

O'Brien's new golfing career has begun in style, as he was recently appointed assistant golf professional at the Old American Golf club in Texas which opened last September.

"When I was playing soccer, I spent a lot of my down time on the golf course with team-mates," said O'Brien. "I fell in love with the game, and making it a career felt like a natural progression once my soccer days were over."

O'Brien's job as an assistant pro includes helping with instructional programmes and day-to-day course operations.

"To be able to play soccer professionally and then switch to golf so seamlessly is truly remarkable," said Jeff Kindred, PGA general manager. "His experience as a world-class athlete and golf acumen will further our goal of establishing The Old American as the best place to play in Texas."

Since its opening, The Old American has garnered an impressive list of accolades, including being the only Metroplex course in Golfweek's top 10 'Best Courses You Can Play' in Texas and 'Best New' from Golf Magazine, Links Magazine, Golfweek and Avid Golfer.

Irish Independent

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