January 6, 2016
Galway, Ireland - On this side of the pond in America not many were familar with Christy O’Connor Jr, but in his native Ireland he was one of the biggest stars in Irish golf. Today, the entire golfing world is mourning his lost.
Born in Galway, the 67-year-old is best remembered in the U.S. for helping Europe retain the Ryder Cup at the Belfry in 1989 when he hit a two-iron to within feet of the hole.
O’Connor’s victory over America’s Fred Couples helped ensure the contest finished 14-14 with the holders Europe retaining the trophy.
He turned professional in 1967. The European Tour officially began in 1972, and O'Connor made the top hundred on the Order of Merit in each of its first twenty-one seasons, with a best ranking of seventh in 1975. He won four European Tour events.
As a senior he has competed on both the European Seniors Tour and the U.S. based Champions Tour, and has won two Senior British Open titles (before it became one of the senior majors) and two Champions Tour events.
O'Connor played in the Ryder Cup twice. In 1975 he was a member of a losing Great Britain & Ireland team and in 1989 he was part of a European team which tied the match to retain the trophy. His personal record was one win, three loses and no ties.
"It is a very sad day for the O'Connor family and for Ireland as a whole," said George O’Grady, former chief executive of the European Tour.
"Christy Jnr was a legendary figure and his immense legacy is far more than purely his playing record.
"He was a universally popular player and always enhanced every tournament he played, no matter the occasion. His infectious charm will be sorely missed."