Christy O'Connor Snr

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Christy O'Connor Snr
Personal information
Full name Patrick Christopher O'Connor
Born (1924-12-21)21 December 1924
Knocknacarra, Galway
Died 14 May 2016(2016-05-14) (aged 91)
Dublin, Ireland
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 203 lb (92 kg; 14.5 st)
Nationality  Ireland
Residence Clontarf, Dublin
Career
Turned professional 1951
Former tour(s) European Tour
European Seniors Tour
Professional wins 63
Number of wins by tour
European Tour 1
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship T2: 1965
PGA Championship DNP
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2009 (member page)
Harry Vardon Trophy 1961, 1962

Patrick Christopher "Christy" O'Connor (21 December 1924 – 14 May 2016) was an Irish professional golfer. He was one of the leading golfers on the British and Irish circuit from the mid-1950s.

O'Connor won over 20 important British and Irish tournaments and finished in the top 10 in the Open Championship on 10 occasions. Later he had considerable success in seniors events, twice winning the World Senior Championship. In team events he played in 10 successive Ryder Cup matches and played in 15 Canada Cup/World Cup matches for Ireland, winning the Canada Cup in 1958 in partnership with Harry Bradshaw.

Early life[edit]

Born in Knocknacarra, Galway in 1924, O'Connor caught his first glimpse of golf at the nearby Galway Golf Club, and from the age of 10 spent most of his spare time there. His foray into professional golf began with caddying, first at Galway and then over at Tuam Golf Club. He turned professional in 1951, with Tuam members funding his first tournament at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, Antrim that same year. His 19th-place finish garnered an membership invitation from Bundoran Golf Club in Donegal, which he accepted.[1]

Golf career[edit]

O'Connor first professional win was at the Swallow-Penfold Tournament held in 1955, the first £1,000 prize to be offered in British golf. He went on to win the 1956 and 1959 British Masters. In 1958, he helped Ireland to win the Canada Cup in Mexico City playing with Harry Bradshaw. A year later, he moved to Dublin and joined the The Royal Dublin Golf Club.[2] Throughout the 1960s he won at least one professional event during each year on the British Tour, a level of consistent success matched by very few other players. O'Connor rarely played professional tournaments outside Britain or Ireland, at one stage saying he forgoed playing at the US Masters in Augusta because he couldn't afford to participate.[3]

O'Connor only ever played at one of the four major championships, at the Open Championship, on 26 occasions between 1951 and 1979. His best performance came at the 1965 Open Championship where O'Connor tied for second place with Brian Huggett, behind five-time winner Peter Thomson.[4] O'Connor played in every Ryder Cup from 1955 to 1973, setting a record of ten appearances in the event which stood until it was surpassed by Nick Faldo in 1997. He was Irish professional champion on ten occasions, including in 1978 (when he was 53), and was twice (1961 and 1962) recipient of the Vardon Trophy for leading the British Tour's Order of Merit.[5]

In the 1966 Carroll's International at Royal Dublin, O'Connor finished 2-3-3 (eagle-birdie-eagle) to win the tournament by 2 strokes. At the par-4 16th he drove the green and holed a 20-foot putt. He then holed a 12-foot putt at the 17th and, at the par-5 18th, hit a 3-iron to 8 feet and holed the putt.[6] A plaque by the 16th tee commemorates the achievement. In 1970, he won the John Player Classic,[7] at that time its £25,000 first prize was the richest offered in golf (in those days, even the British Open champion received just a little over £5,000), it made him that season's leading money-winner, although not Order of Merit leader, which was decided by a points system not directly related to prize money.

Later in his career, O'Connor became the leading "senior" (over-50s) professional player of his day, just before the lucrative U.S.-based Senior PGA Tour, now known as the PGA Tour Champions, took off. He won the PGA Seniors Championship six times and the World Senior Championship in 1976 and 1977. O'Connor was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009 in the Veterans category.[8]

Personal life[edit]

O'Connor met his wife, Mary Collins, in Donegal while he was a member of Bundoran Golf Club. They married in 1954 and had six children together.[1] During his early career he was known simply as Christy O'Connor, but his nephew of the same name also became a prominent golfer, and since that time they have been referred to as Christy O'Connor Senior and Christy O'Connor Junior, respectively. He was known as "Himself" among his golfing peers.[9] He died at the age of 91 in Mater Hospital, on 14 May 2016.[10]

Tournament wins[edit]

Source:[11][a]

British and Irish circuit wins (23)[edit]

Date Tournament Venue Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
27 May 1955 Swallow-Penfold Tournament Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club 74-71-73-74=292 2 strokes Scotland Eric Brown, England Syd Scott
20 Apr 1956 Spalding Tournament Moor Park Golf Club 69-66-71-70=276 Tie England Harry Weetman
20 Sep 1956 Dunlop Masters Prestwick Golf Club 71-67-72-67=277 1 stroke Scotland Eric Brown
14 Sep 1957 News of the World Match Play Turnberry 5&4 in final Scotland Tom Haliburton
14 Jun 1959 Daks Tournament Wentworth Club 69-64-67-74=274 3 strokes England Peter Mills
20 Sep 1959 Dunlop Masters Portmarnock Golf Club 71-70-69-66=276 4 strokes Republic of Ireland Joe Carr (am), Northern Ireland Norman Drew
18 Jul 1960 Irish Hospitals Tournament Woodbrook Golf Club 70-67-71-64=272
63 to 71 in playoff
Playoff
(18 holes)
England Ken Bousfield
20 Aug 1960 Ballantine Tournament Wentworth Club 69-66-70-72=277 2 strokes Scotland John Panton
4 Aug 1961 Carling-Caledonian Tournament Longniddry Golf Club 62-65-72-70=269 2 strokes Scotland John Panton, England Harry Weetman
22 Jul 1962 Irish Hospitals Tournament Woodbrook Golf Club 70-67-65-69=271 1 stroke New Zealand Bob Charles
4 May 1963 Martini International Royal Liverpool Golf Club 74-74-70-80=298 Tie England Neil Coles
2 May 1964 Martini International Wentworth Club 71-76-68-71=286 6 strokes England Lionel Platts
24 May 1964 Jeyes Tournament Cork Golf Club 70-68-69-69=276 1 stroke Australia Peter Thomson
19 Jul 1964 Carroll Sweet Afton Tournament Woodbrook Golf Club 65-66-66-71=268 Playoff Argentina Roberto De Vicenzo
31 Jul 1965 Senior Service Tournament Dalmahoy Golf Club 64-71-68=203 1 stroke Republic of Ireland Hugh Boyle, United States Jacky Cupit
6 Aug 1966 Gallaher Ulster Open Shandon Park Golf Club 65-67-68-68=268 Playoff South Africa Cobie Legrange, Scotland George Will
28 Aug 1966 Carroll's International Royal Dublin Golf Club 71-68-67-66=272 2 strokes Scotland Eric Brown
13 Aug 1967 Carroll's International Woodbrook Golf Club 66-69-70-72=277 2 strokes England Tommy Horton
10 Aug 1968 Gallaher Ulster Open Shandon Park Golf Club 69-66-?-?=267 2 strokes England Peter Butler
5 Oct 1968 Alcan International Royal Birkdale Golf Club 71-72-71-74=288 Tie England Bill Large
2 Aug 1969 Gallaher Ulster Open Shandon Park Golf Club 65-69-?-?=271 3 strokes Northern Ireland Norman Drew, England Malcolm Gregson,
England Bernard Hunt, Republic of Ireland Jimmy Martin
6 Sep 1970 John Player Classic Notts Golf Club 70-71-73-72=286 1 stroke England Tony Jacklin
25 Jun 1972 Carroll's International Woodbrook Golf Club 73-69-75-67=284 2 strokes England David Talbot

Other wins (32)[edit]

Senior wins (8)[edit]

Results in major championships[edit]

Of the four majors, O'Connor only played The Open Championship.[5]

1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
T19 DNP T24 T20 T10 T10 T19 T3 T5
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
T36 T4 T16 6 T6 T2 T13 21 CUT 5
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
T17 T35 T23 T7 T56 DNP CUT CUT DNP T36

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Yellow background for top-10

Team appearances[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 1970 Bowmaker Tournament is omitted from this list. The tournament was won by Neil Coles.[12][13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]