Just after 2pm on Monday, a sound erupted from the centre of Adare Manor’s impeccably manicured golf course.
Some might say it emulated a lion’s roar, but it was caused by a Tiger. And he’d come to play in Limerick’s greatest show, the JP McManus Pro-Am of 2022.
Undoubtedly, he was the main draw of the day, with his arrival causing a frenzy that even Niall Horan was probably taken aback by.
The former One Direction star was one of JP’s famous friends teeing off in the name of charity today, with Belfast star Jamie Dornan and Hollywood royalty Bill Murray completing the celebrity ‘Adare Manor’ team.
Bill Murray, who was pictured at Limerick's All-Ireland semi-final clash with Galway on Sunday — alongside the competition's host and golfing star Adam Scott — told reporters he became involved in the Pro-Am after he played golf with Mr McManus.
"He beat me pretty badly, so I have been practising ever since."
Asked how he was feeling about his game today, Dornan said he was fine on the range.
“But when you get out on the golf course it’s a different affair, different pressure,” he said.
Horan admitted he was feeling the nerves today — despite the fact he is well used to a crowd of thousands. Having played with Murray before, he knew he was in for “a good laugh.”
“It’s a day out, that’s for sure," Horan said. “He’s one of the greatest characters of all time so it’s going to be a good laugh.”
At this point, Dornan enquired as to whether there was any water available.
“I’ve water in my bag if you want some,” I said hopefully, contagious viruses far from my mind. He politely declined.
Having not been escorted from the premises at this point, I skipped alongside the Fifty Shades star as he made his way over to the first tee.
“Have you been out in Limerick?” I asked him, videos of Bill Murray’s musical performance in Charlie Malones clear in my mind.
“No, Limerick wouldn’t have me,” he quipped.
As we made our way off the driving range and through the slew of supporters gathering behind ropes, the calls for autographs started.
The Holywood man stopped and signed hats left right and centre, taking pictures and responding to calls of “good luck” and “how are the nerves.”
While he was occupied, I made some small talk with his caddy, local lad Scott O’Brien, who explained that it was "the luck of the draw" that he ended up carrying the bag of one of Ireland’s top movie exports.
“I’m a caddy here [in Adare] usually. There was a draw, so it was luck of the draw.”
I didn’t ask whether he would have preferred to have been caddying for one of the world’s top golfers, many of whom arrived by helicopter over the weekend.
Apart from the celebrities, 11 of the top 12 players in the world were in attendance — including Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, Matt Fitzpatrick, Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth Also on the green today were Irish heroes Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Séamus Power and Leona Maguire.
Notably, the Cavan woman was flying the flag for the sisterhood on her own — when asked about it she said: "There was none the last time, so every year there is progress."
She was well-received by the crowd of some 40,000 including Adam and Tom Reddington who had travelled from Fuerty, Co Roscommon for today’s event.
“She was lovely,” Tom said, “she signed autographs and took pictures with everyone.” Her signature was just one of an array on Adam’s limited-edition Adare Manor cap — notably, it was missing Tiger’s.
“That’s another level,” Tom said.
A similar sentiment was expressed by Thomas Hogan from Askeaton who was following the 15-time Major champion around the Adare Golf course for the second time, more than a decade later. He’s hoping for a signature on his large sign emblazoned with the words ‘Fàilte Tiger Woods.’ But, “it’s near impossible,” he says.
Twelve years ago, a six-year-old from Innishannon, Co Cork, broke through the boundary fence and ran for her life, collecting the only autograph Woods signed on that afternoon. For now, Ava Mulhall remains the only one to snare the Tiger.