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Ryder Cup legend's rant over no Irish captains

Christy O'Connor Jnr is delighted with the selection of Celtic Manor vice-captains Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke but he's also reiterated a long-held stance by declaring it's ‘a holy shame' there still has been no Irish-born Ryder Cup captain.

McGinley and Clarke plus Dane Thomas Bjorn were chosen earlier this week by Colin Montgomerie as his European Ryder Cup vice-captains.

It is only the third occasion in Ryder Cup history an Irish-born has been appointed as a Ryder Cup vice-captain.

Des Smyth acted as one of Ian Woosnam's deputies when Europe triumphed over the States in 2006 at the K Club. McGinley was then announced as a vice-captain to Nick Faldo for the 2008 Ryder Cup but the Dubliner later resigned his position in favour of trying to automatically qualify for the Valhalla side.

“The selection of Paul and Darren finally gives an Irishman the chance of being appointed a Ryder Cup captain,” said O'Connor before withdrawing through illness after just four holes on day two of the Seniors Open.

“It has been a holy disgrace that an Irishman has never been captain in the long history of the Ryder Cup. It's absolutely atrocious and maybe this will lead to Paul or Darren or both being made a European captain.

“They have great credentials to lead Europe and we saw how well Paul handled the role of Vivendi Captain last year but it's just been extremely disappointing that after more than 80 years since the first Ryder Cup that we've never had an Irish born captain.

“I've campaigned for a long time for an Irish born played to made captain but surely it must happen sooner rather than later.”

O'Connor played in two Ryder Cups in 1975 and 1989, and will always be remembered for his magnificent 2-iron into the final green in his match against Fred Couples in 1989 to set up a one shot victory that helped Europe halve the tournament.

Meanwhile, Bernhard Langer (71) and Corey Pavin (69) head the Senior Open field on four-under par.

In contrast to last week's Open, US players dominate the leaderboard with former Masters winner Larry Mize (70) among a group at three under and 1989 Royal Troon winner Mark Calcavecchia (70) a shot further back.

Belfast Telegraph


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