Close

Premium

'US Open walkout was wrong, but it's been 30 years': Ronan Rafferty looks back on Hazeltine controversy and battles with golfing greats

 

Close

Newry man Ronan Rafferty was no stranger to controversy during his career and today sheds a light on the big talking points.

Newry man Ronan Rafferty was no stranger to controversy during his career and today sheds a light on the big talking points.

Getty Images

Ronan Rafferty

Ronan Rafferty

Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Rafferty played at the Masters twice, finishing in a tie for 14th in 1990.

Rafferty played at the Masters twice, finishing in a tie for 14th in 1990.

Augusta National/Getty Images

Rafferty in actiom during the final round of the 1993 Dubai Desert Classic.

Rafferty in actiom during the final round of the 1993 Dubai Desert Classic.

Getty Images

Ronan Rafferty in action at the 1979 Irish Open

Ronan Rafferty in action at the 1979 Irish Open

Ronan Rafferty

Ronan Rafferty

Newry man Ronan Rafferty was no stranger to controversy during his career and today sheds a light on the big talking points.

From the cradle to the first tee, 'the next Rory McIlroy' is getting younger and younger. In the way we once talked about George Best's successor, the rush to anoint means that, still less than a decade on from the World No.1's first Major win, we're already onto the 'next, next McIlroy'.

It's only natural that from the day they can first grip a club, young prodigies dream of following in the footsteps of the Holywood star, the eye-watering prize money available on tour and the attendant lifestyle enjoyed by even modest pros now the envy of almost every sport in the world. It was not, however, always thus.

When Rory came into the world on the fifth day of May in 1989, it was another County Down native leading the way, Ronan Rafferty winning his first European Tour event that same month to begin a run that would see him end the year topping the Order of Merit and, 30 years ago this week, restoring an Irish professional presence at the US Open after an absence of more than four decades.