| 6.8°C Dublin

I want an apology from the Taoiseach - Walton

GOLFING hero Philip Walton is "devastated" by Taoiseach Brian Cowen's impersonation of him.

The Dublin golfer, who sank the winning putt at the 1995 Ryder Cup, is appalled at the mimicry of him by Mr Cowen.

The Taoiseach was today preparing a second humiliating apology in a week -- this time to Philip.

The golfer was shocked to the core that the head of government made him the butt of a joke at the Fianna Fail think-in earlier this week.

Mr Walton has written to the Taoiseach expressing his disgust.

"Philip is devastated that he has been cast into the public domain in such a manner," a friend revealed.

Mr Cowen did an impression of the Ryder Cup winning golfer's accent to peals of laughter. The routine showed Mr Walton as a bungling caddy.

"From what I have heard and read so far, the stories are of concern to myself, my wife and also my children as they have seen reports on You Tube," Mr Walton said.

A source close to Mr Cowen said Philip was one of his sporting heroes and no insult whatsoever had been made or intended by the Taoiseach.

A friend of Mr Walton's told the Herald that the 48-year-old and three-time Ryder Cup tour winner wanted the matter to remain private, but had no choice but to write to the Taoiseach. "Philip finds the whole thing completely uncomfortable and that's why he wants an apology," the friend said.

"Philip finds the whole thing completely uncomfortable and that's why he wants an apology," the friend said.

"The letter was written in a private capacity to the Taoiseach, and we will now wait and see what's to come of it."

Walton became part of Ryder Cup folklore in 1995 when he secured the 31st Ryder Cup for Europe at Oak Hills in New York. The massive underdog secured the vital point for Europe when he defeated American Jay Haas with a dramatic putt on the 18th green.

Today, junior minister John Maloney said he expects that the Taoiseach will issue an apology to Mr Walton.

"I know nobody wants to be mimicked, but it really is the best form of flattery. Philip Walton and Michael O Muircheartaigh are the people that the Taoiseach looks up to in sport," he said.

Asked if he thinks that Mr Cowen would apologise for any offence caused, Mr Maloney said: "I would imagine he would. Brian Cowen has been the subject of mimic himself -- the most famous being from Ian Paisley -- and it didn't take a funk out of him."

Mr Walton refused to comment further on the matter when contacted by the Herald.


Privacy