Sport Golf

Friday 9 December 2016

We must cherish our Celtic Tigers

Eamonn Sweeney

Published 06/02/2011 | 05:00

It's pretty impressive that Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are ranked number five and number eight respectively in the official world golf rankings. But it's even cooler that in the current Sports Illustrated rankings, compiled by leading American golf writers, McDowell is at number two and McIlroy at number five.

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The reasoning behind the poll is that the official rankings take too long to register shifts in current form. For example Tiger Woods is the official world number three despite enduring a disastrous 2010, while Lee Westwood is number one although he hasn't won since June.

Whichever rankings you choose to believe in, the fact is that the presence of two Irishmen in the top ten is something we don't see too often. It's worth celebrating, particularly for those of us who grew up during the era when good news for Irish golf consisted of a piece at the end of the sports news telling you Des Smyth was in seventh place, five shots off the lead after the third round of the Uniroyal International.

With four Majors in four years, Irish golfers are second only to the Americans and every Major brings with it the realistic hope that one of them will be in contention at the last hole on the final day.

What I'm saying is cherish this moment. Because, now that it's over, I bet you wish you appreciated the Celtic Tiger era properly. And there may also come a day when we remember how we took McDowell, Harrington and McIlroy and these extraordinary years for granted, and wonder why we weren't in a perpetual state of wonder. Because right now Irish golf is in heaven.

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