LEGENDARY Irish golfer Christy O’Connor Junior has passed away at the age of 67, the Irish Independent have confirmed.
Best known for his outrageous two-iron approach shot to the 18th hole in Europe’s Ryder Cup win in 1989, O’Connor is thought to have died in Spain.
During a fine career, the Galway man picked up four wins on the European Tour and collected two British Open Senior titles (1999, 2000), as well as playing in two Ryder Cups.
O’Connor was the nephew of Christy Senior, the iconic Irish golfer who won 17 times during a very successful career, and who remains alive at the age of 91.
It is understood friends of Christy Junior are dealing with the Irish consulate in Tenerife to try and bring his remains home. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has has extended his condolences to the O’Connor family.
He said: “No one will ever forget Christy O’Connor’s two-iron from the middle of the 18th fairway at the Belfry which retained the 1989 Ryder Cup for Team Europe. It is an image that will remain fixed forever in the minds of all Irish golf and sporting fans.
“I knew Christy personally and he loved and lived life to the full. His premature passing will be a source of great sadness to many Irish people and all golfing fans in Ireland and across Europe.
“He was a multiple winner on the European, Senior and Champions Tours and he shot a then record first round of 64 during the British Open in 1985.
“There’s no doubt however that his crowning glory was that famous Ryder Cup moment and a raft of other Irish golfers then followed in his footsteps to Ryder Cup greatness. Like his uncle, he was a trailblazer on the European Tour and an example to many aspiring golfers around the country.
“While remembering also his son Darren who tragically passed away in 1998, I want to convey to his wife Ann, son Nigel and daughter Ann my sincere condolences. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”
Watch O’Conner in his prime at the Belfry in 1989 below.