Tributes to the late Christy O’Connor Jnr have gushed from the great and the good in the wake of his untimely death on Wednesday.

But few are as revealing about his genial personality than that from the Irish developer and his business partner who commissioned O’Connor to design a golf course bearing his name at the Amendoeira Golf Resort in the Algarve.

Golfers can be guilty of putting their name and little else into a course development. Not so Christy O’Connor Jnr, as Drogheda man, Gerry Fagan — the co-founder of Oceanico Developments in Portugal with partner Simon Burgess — revealed yesterday.

“As in every task he undertook, Christy was not content with managing from afar. He worked tirelessly with the construction team during all phases of the project and was never happier than when sat on a bulldozer working with the operators to ensure his design vision was translated into reality,” Fagan said.

“Christy had that rare touch and warmth to befriend prince and pauper alike. He unfailingly took time to speak with everyone, no matter their background, nationality, colour, wealth, age, and in the case of golfers, their handicap. It mattered not to him their golfing ability, or even if they had never picked up a club, he just wanted everyone to experience a little of the fun that life and his chosen game had brought to him.”

Fagan added: “Long after his O’Connor Jnr course was opened in Portugal, Christy would often arrive, typically unannounced and bearing a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine for the office staff who he had worked with in years gone by. After a round of golf with a friend or two he would sit himself in the clubhouse with a bottle of his beloved Portuguese red wine, telling stories and recalling happy days he’d enjoyed in many corners of the world.

“Not a man to announce himself with any expectation of recognition, he would often wander up to a group of players and quietly ask them if they’d enjoyed their game without even mentioning that he was the artist who had created the masterpiece upon which they had spent the last few hours.

“Christy was a man for whom his family meant everything. He set enormous store in the support of his wife, Ann, and their son Nigel and their daughter Ann. Whilst his profession took him to all corners of the world, he was never happier than when returning to his homeland and the warmth that its people rightly bestowed upon him. Christy, you were unique. God bless you and thank you.”

Added ex-Champions Tour caddie Frank Robertson: “Golf lost a truly great man. I was lucky enough to caddy for him when he came over to play the Champions Tour. We had great success on the course with a couple wins. He taught me how to go antiquing and how to drink Guinness on an epic road trip across the southern states. He never let my glass get half empty.”


Lifestyle

Flexibility naturally declines with age but there’s a lot you can to stay supple through the decades, says Peta Bee.At full stretch: How to stay flexible through the years

Simon Prim is owner of Simon Prim Book Shop, Main Street, Kinsale, Co Cork, which sells second-hand books.‘Kinsale is a welcoming town, and everyone is encouraging’

The Everyman hosts Ronan FitzGibbon’s play about singsongs along the Blackwater, writes Marjorie BrennanA river runs through it: Everyman to play to host to Blackwater Babble

WHEN I think about the kind of child I was, I would say that I was the exact same kind of person that I am as an adult. I have always been fascinated by things that I don’t quite yet understand. I recognise that I hardly understand anything and that most of the world is and always has been so beautifully complex to me.School Daze: Chris Hadfield - I realised at a young age that teachers were fallible

More From The Irish Examiner