“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill.
Smell the Coffee!
If we were to measure the success of Irish Golf per capita, we would be light years ahead of the rest of the planet post 2007. In the past eight years Irish golfers have won 9 majors between them, only two behind the United States on 11. South Africa come in a distant third during that time frame with three majors. Traditionally the yard stick when assessing golfing success, this is nothing short of phenomenal. Having gone sixty years since the late great Fred Daly won “The Open” in 1947, Padraig Harrington’s victory in Carnoustie opened the floodgates. Bearing in mind Michael Jordan’s observations on success it is entirely appropriate that it was Padraig who unlocked the door to Major victory. A multitude of second place finishes at amateur level led to a few victories before turning pro. The same pattern at pro golf, despite winning the Spainish Open early in his career, helped build a steely determination to become a regular winner on tour before securing three majors in two years and catapult Irish and European Golf back to the top. Hot on his heels was a victory by Graeme McDowell at the US open before the prodigious Rory McElroy started to compile four majors in quick succession. Darren Clarke also claimed a richly deserved Major Championship to put the silver lining on a decorated career in 2011 at Royal St Georges.
Rory McElroy, despite slipping to World Number 3 has been for the most part the dominant force in World Golf for the past five years, seemlessly fitting on the crown so long worn by Tiger Woods. He has had his ups and downs, however his succes in Dubai at the weekend points to a resurgent Rory in 2016. Shane’s Lowry’s continuos rise through the World Rankings has been highly impressive and reaching a high of 18 suggests the possibilities are endless. Indeed to win has National Open as an amateur is achievement that as far as this pundit is aware only been achieved by one other golfer in the modern era. A hugely impressive World Golf Championship win at The Bridgestone Invitational puts him in rareified air with very few Europeans able to claim such a feat. Shane is in prime positon to nail down his place on the Olympic team with Rory however Graeme McDowell’s return to form with a win on the PGA tour last week and another top 5 this week points to a battle in the months ahead. Allied to all the success outlined above we have had a huge influence on the Ryder Cup.
Paul Dunne broke all sorts of records at this years Open Championship. He has just gained his playing privileges for 2016 and who knows maybe he will be another to add to our Major haul. Paul was one of an unprecedented five strong Irish contingent with the successful Walker Cup team in Lytham. Add to this the recent success of Stephanie Medow who has just been awarded the Heater Farr perseverance award on the LPGA tour. Also Leona McGuire is the world Number 1 amateur golfer a truly phenomenal achivement which hints at potential Irish domination to come in the Ladies game. The best of luck to all in your fledgling careers.
Despite all this we still love to give out, yours truly included. This could be done better and that could be done better. Certainly in the mens section there lots of commentators unhappy with how things are done. I am sure we all have our ideas on this, and I am certainly no exception in advocating change in certain areas however, that being said, the guys in “The Jackets” are an easy target and frequently come in for more than their fair share of criticism. As suggested earlier, I am certainly not slow to criticise, however when you look at the results and the success obtained it’s very hard to argue with. We must be doing something right!
I received a nice little surprise in the post this morning. An invite to the Champions Dinner in January. I have attended this a few times and it’s a fantatstic celebration of Irish Golf. I must say however that my invitiation has very little to do with anything I did. I had the privilege to Captain the Connacht Under 14 to the Innaugural Under 14 provincial championship. The success was carved out long before I arrived on the scene through the hard work of the Parents, Coaches and Players. We had an extraordinarly talented group of players who were a credit to themselves, their families, their clubs and their province. I would like to thank Xavier Medas (PGA), John O’Donoghue and Peter Geraghty for all their assistance with team and indeed the Chairman of the Connacht Branch, Mr Jim McGovern for affording me the opportunity to work with this group. I look forward to breaking bread with you and the players at the “Champions Dinner”. You can read all about our our interprovincial success here. Maybe some of these young fellas will go on to follow in the footsteps of some of the illustrious names above.
For now, regards to all,