Drawing on frank, previously unpublished interviews with David Feherty, Eamon Darcy, Des Smyth and other golfers, PJ Browne entertainingly recreates the inside story of successive Ryder Cups and the Irish players who contributed so much to them.
The format of the British and Irish golf team was changed in 1979 after a series of disheartening losses to the Americans. This decision saved the Ryder Cup. Few could have foreseen the subsequent success of the European team. The Irish contribution has been outstanding, even defining, and is now part of the folklore of the event. The heroics of Christy O’Connor Snr. and Fred Daly were emulated by Eamonn Darcy, Christy Jr. and Philip Walton, Irish players made memorable shots, such as Paul McGinley’s winning putt in 2002, and, even more memorably, Darren Clarke’s achievement when the Ryder Cup came to Ireland in 2006. Padraig Harrington has also been immensely valuable to the last four European Ryder Cup teams.
The 2008 Ryder Cup was mired in controversy before a ball was struck, Players and spectators felt keenly the absence of Darren Clarke. The outcome was poor for the Europeans, while the Americans, in an impressive role reversal, played as a team, hungry for success. More important, they played better golf, to add another chapter to this unique event. Irish golfers will look forward to exacting their revenge when the Ryder Cup returns to Europe in 2010.
PJ Browne is an Irish-born journalist and writer. He lives in Springfield, New Jersey.