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Four days that changed Irish golf: Portmarnock's hosting of Canada Cup 60 years ago still shines like a beacon

Dermot Gilleece



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'When Palmer had his uncertain spell, Snead produced magnificent figures to keep them in front, and when he himself began to show his years, Palmer stood as firm as a rock and piloted the ship safely home.’ Photo: PGA of America via Getty Images

'When Palmer had his uncertain spell, Snead produced magnificent figures to keep them in front, and when he himself began to show his years, Palmer stood as firm as a rock and piloted the ship safely home.’ Photo: PGA of America via Getty Images

PGA of America via Getty Images

'When Palmer had his uncertain spell, Snead produced magnificent figures to keep them in front, and when he himself began to show his years, Palmer stood as firm as a rock and piloted the ship safely home.’ Photo: PGA of America via Getty Images

As a fascinating commentary on current events, the very idea of a professional golfer playing behind closed doors, was likened to "a fisherman without a fish, or a bookmaker without a customer."

This was how exemplary spectators were addressed at the conclusion of the Canada Cup at Portmarnock, 60 years ago this coming week.

Galleries had behaved so splendidly throughout the event, albeit blessed with perfect June weather, that all 60 competing players felt moved, in a unique gesture, to stand and applaud them from the presentation dais. That was when Golfing Union of Ireland president, Dr Billy O'Sullivan, as head of the organising committee, added his own observation.