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Irish golfing great Norman Drew celebrates his 90th birthday

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Norman Drew

Norman Drew

Norman Drew

Norman Vico Drew celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday and a lifetime of achievement.

The first man to play in the Walker Cup (1953), Ryder Cup (1959) and World Cup (1960), he won five championships — the Irish Amateur Open (1952, 1953) the North of Ireland (1950, 1952) and the East of Ireland (1952).

While he hasn’t played since breaking his right ankle 12 years ago, he watched much of the coverage of the US PGA Championship in Tulsa, remarking that many, including our own Rory McIlroy, appear to be listening to “too much advice.”

He was in that kind of company in the 1959 Ryder Cup at Eldorado County Club in California, where he formed the Long Drop Club with Christy O’Connor Snr after the aircraft carrying the team was hit by turbulence and dropped from 13,000 to 9,000 feet in seconds as they flew from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.

“Everyone was shouting and screaming before the pilot levelled out again but honestly we all thought we were gone,” Drew recalled.

The pilot regained control and returned to Los Angeles, where Drew recalled with glorious understatement, “you could say some drink was taken after we touched down.”

We understand Drew and England’s Peter Mills (91) are the only surviving members of the Long Drop Club.

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