9 C
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Cursed in Foxford and Puerto Rico

Must Read

I Dreamed a Dream*

'It feels as if we have forsaken this beautiful game. We haven’t. We’ve just been biding our time under a swell of anger. Who among us has not practised a swing with nothing in our empty hands but hope?'

High time golf made a comeback

'My hope is that we’ll be playing golf again next week, and that those funnelling into green spaces with nowhere else to go will be given a few more options'

An Ode to Dustin Johnson

'Certain factions of the media take great pleasure in the portrayal of Dustin – and brother and caddie Austin on occasion – as being a little dim witted at best, and downright dumb at worst. This is a particular pet hate'

So Rory, where did it all go wrong?

Net worth of over $100million, four Majors, fourth best golfer in the world and on his Christmas holidays in mid-November, all at 31 years young. Still, no green jacket

If you’re Irish and not dwelling under a stone, you’ll know this story. Legend has it that following the 1951 All-Ireland Football Final, the victorious Mayo side were travelling through the village of Foxford and failed to pay due respects to a funeral procession that was going through the village. Whether it was the priest presiding over the funeral or a local woman with supernatural gifts is unclear, but as an act of vengeance the team was cursed never again to win another All-Ireland title so long as any of the ’51 panel drew breath.

Almost seven decades later, there is just one surviving member from Mayo’s last great triumph, and they have lost nine finals in the meantime, often in heart-breaking circumstances where they’ve seemingly self-destructed with victory within their grasp.

For the record, I’m a sceptic when it comes to the paranormal and supernatural realms, but I’m also a sucker for a good story, and with each passing summer, the legend of the curse continued to grow. Is it possible that there is actually something to it? There was the equalising point that bounced over the bar in 1996, the two own goals in 2016, the moment of red mist from Donal Vaughan in 2017, somehow the stars have always aligned against the Westerners.

Of course, the logical belief is that coincidence and bad luck are the guilty parties, but even though I think all curses are bullshit, they can still play their part. With margins so fine, if there is a single Mayo player that actually believes the tale, then that player’s decision making and frame of mind are compromised, and can lead them to make rash decisions or to accept defeat a little too easily.

And apologies to the good people of Mayo, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a little sadistic pleasure in seeing the run of failure continue and the saga live to see another day.

Golf’s curse is nowhere near as mythic as the team of ‘51’s tale, but is a whole lot of fun nonetheless. The Shotgun Start podcast is where I first learned that Coco Beach Golf Course in Puerto Rico was built on ancient burial grounds, and to hole the winning putt in the Puerto Rico Open is to doom yourself to an eternity of never winning a PGA Tour event anywhere else, ever again.

Ok, I may be stretching it with “burial grounds” but the law of averages dictates that there must be at least one set of bones in the near 400 acres of land just outside Rio Grande, so I’m going with it.

Names like Alex Čejka, Chesson Hadley, D.A. Points, Tony Finau and Viktor Hovland are among those who effectively nuked their careers by paying disrespect to the ancient Puerto Rican gods. In fact, the only past PR Open winner to win again was Michael Bradley who followed his 2009 win by winning the PR Open again in 2011. So clearly the curse extends to every other golf course in the world, except Coco Beach.

Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger and Bryson DeChambeau can all look back on their runner-up finishes at the Puerto Rico Open as the day they nearly committed professional suicide.

Ok, so Spieth and Co. were fledgling pros when they dodged the bullet, and being held opposite a WGC, the roll of honour is a who’s who of PGA Tour journeymen, but Finau, and now Hovland, are legit superstars and among the most talented players in the game. Each week that they contend and don’t win is a week that the PR curse is severely put to the test and comes up trumps.

I love Finau, and Hovland seems like a great guy too, but I ‘m also fond of childishly giggling that as ridiculous a concept as a tournament being cursed lives to fight another day.

Mayo may never win another All-Ireland, but the odds are that if they should, that unfortunately Paddy Prendergast will have departed and that the curse will have been lifted, not broken.

Finau and Hovland will win PGA Tour events, and probably soon too, but for now the Puerto Rican curse is very much a thing.

I’ll enjoy it while I can.

New Gear

Add laser vision to your game with Motocaddy’s PRO 3000

“By any standards, the PRO 3000 Laser is a match for any rangefinder on the market, offering pin-point accuracy in distance measurements at a really attractive price point"

FootJoy launch its new Stratos shoe featuring unbeatable comfort on and off the course

Featuring an unparalleled, ultra-cushioned underfoot ride, great traction and super soft leather uppers, FJ Stratos is innovative footwear that is specifically tuned for golf and comfort.

Wilson launch two new Tour staff model golf balls

New premium Urethane Tour balls offer distance, exceptional spin & aerodynamic consistency

FootJoy bringing the gold standard with limited edition Pro|SL

To celebrate FJ’s continued market success with Pro|SL this season, the brand have released an all-new, limited-edition FJ Pro|SL Gold


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Golf Ireland reveals 26 funded players for 2021 season

Golf Ireland has announced 15 High Performance and 11 Developing golfers who will receive funding under their player pathway programme for the 2021 season

Frittelli eyeing career win at South African Open

Dylan Frittelli believes so much in the history and tradition of the South African Open that he goes as far as to say he wouldn’t feel his career would be complete without adding his name to the trophy

Byrne confirms split from Spanish star Rafa Cabrera Bello

Irish tour caddie, Colin Byrne has confirmed that after a largely successful four year spell working alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello, the pair have parted ways

Petition launched to save Ballykisteen Golf Club

Members of Ballykisteen Golf Club in Co. Tipperary are launching a campaign to save their club after it was confirmed that the course is being sold and converted into farmland, and not maintained as a golf course

Kearney & Moynihan join strong field in Dubai

Niall Kearney and Gavin Moynihan will hope to sign off their respective 2020 campaigns on a high as the pair join a strong field this week at Wednesday's starting Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World