Christy O’Connor Junior, who will always be remembered for the 2-iron shot at the 18th hole at The Belfry that enabled Europe to retain the 1989 Ryder Cup, believes it will be a “disgrace” and a demonstration of “anti-Irishness” if Paul McGinley isn’t appointed captain of the team to defend the trophy at Gleneagles in 2014.
In his autobiography From Rough to Fair Ways (Paperweight Publications) being launched in Dublin this evening, O’Connor is extremely critical of the fact there has never been an Irish captain in the history of the biennial clash of the USA and Europe and asserts: “To me it is bordering on an overwhelming sense of anti-Irishness. How else can one explain it?”
O’Connor Jnr is very hurt that his famous uncle Christy Senior was never given the honour. He pointed out: “Right up to the modern era when Nick Faldo surpassed the 50 points mark, Christy Senior held the points record for a European player with 36. BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss is forever talking about him in glowing terms as one of the best golfers of all time. ‘Senior’ also held the European appearances record of 10 which was eventually surpassed by Nick Faldo reaching 11 in 1997.”
Christy Junior writes that 2006 at The K Club was the perfect opportunity to appoint an Irish captain, believing “it would have been almost like a 13th man on the team. That was an opportunity shamefully missed.”
Looking ahead to 2014, he makes the strongest possible case for McGinley’s appointment while failing to mention the name of Darren Clarke.
“If Paul is not made captain, then we know without any shadow of doubt that the selection committee are anti-Irish,” O’Connor maintained. “Some of their reasoning just does not make sense either. When I was bidding for it in 2004 they turned me down on the grounds that a Major winner should captain the side. I have never heard such rubbish. Sam Torrance never won a Major and Mark James made one of the biggest balls-ups when he lost a huge lead to the Americans.
“The last word on the subject must concern the huge bands of loyal Irish golf followers. It is a huge miscarriage of justice on them. They have supported the Ryder Cup in every corner of the globe with the tricolour everywhere to be seen.”
From Rough to Fair Ways deals in similarly honest fashion with the many good and not so good days of Christy Junior’s life on and off the course and will make for a highly enjoyable and fascinating read for the Galway man’s many admirers all over the golfing globe.
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