Golf legend Christy O’Connor Jr, best remembered for his stunning final Ryder Cup shot to beat Fred Couples, has passed away in Spain at the age of 67
His vital point in the 1989 Ryder Cup at the Belfry was secured by a sublime two-iron approach shot to the 18th, which meant that Europe tied with America and thus retained the trophy.
It left him just four feet from the hole.
He won four times on the European tour, twice on the Champions tour, took part in two Ryder Cups and secured two British Open titles as a Senior.
The Galway native came from a strong golfing dynasty, the nephew of 91-year-old Christy O’Connor, who played in every Ryder Cup from 1955 to 1973, setting a record of ten appearances in the event which stood until surpassed by Nick Faldo in 1997.
Christy Jr turned professional in 1967, and recorded a total of 17 pro wins. His best result in a major came when he tied third in 1985.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny extended his condolences to the O’Connor family, stating that his famous Belfry Ryder Cup shot would ‘remain fixed forever in the minds of all Irish golf and sporting fans’.
“I knew Christy personally and he loved and lived life to the full. His premature passing will be a source of great sadness to many Irish people and all golfing fans in Ireland and across Europe,” Mr Kenny added.
“He was a multiple winner on the European, Senior and Champions Tours and he shot a then record first round of 64 during the British Open in 1985. There’s no doubt however that his crowning glory was that famous Ryder Cup moment and a raft of other Irish golfers then followed in his footsteps to Ryder Cup greatness. Like his uncle, he was a trailblazer on the European Tour and an example to many aspiring golfers around the country.
“While remembering also his son Darren who tragically passed away in 1998, I want to convey to his wife Ann, son Nigel and daughter Ann my sincere condolences. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”