Thursday 22 March 2018

Funeral of Irish golf legend Christy O'Connor Jnr to take place on Tuesday

Christy O'Connor Jnr, who helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup in 1989, died last week.
Christy O'Connor Jnr, who helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup in 1989, died last week.

Michael McHugh

The funeral of Christy O'Connor Jnr, one of the biggest stars of Irish golf, will take place on Tuesday.

The 67-year-old from Galway was best remembered for helping Europe win the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in 1989 when he fired a stunning shot with his two iron to within a few feet of the 18th hole.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny led a flood of tributes to the sporting star.

Requiem Mass will be held at midday on Tuesday in Galway Cathedral in the west of Ireland.

O'Connor Jnr, who is survived by his wife Ann, son Nigel and daughter Ann, had been on holiday in Tenerife when he died in his sleep.

The golfer's other son, Darren, died in a road accident in 1998 aged 17.

O'Connor Jnr's famous 220-yard shot on to the 18th green to win at The Belfry is an image that has pride of place in the minds of all Irish golf and sport fans.

Up against the world number one at the time, Fred Couples, and the oldest man in Team Europe, O'Connor Jnr had been written off by large sections of the media before he took to the course that day.

Among his other wins were the Irish Open in 1975 and the Dunhill British Masters in 1992.

Elsewhere, after joining the over-50s ranks, O'Connor Jnr won by three shots in the 1999 Senior Open Championship at Royal Portrush before returning to Northern Ireland a year later to successfully defend the title at Royal County Down.

He also lifted two titles on the Champions Tour in America in 1999.

Press Association

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