‘Warnie’: Cricket’s Spin King’s passing brings sadness to top golfers

Bernie McGuire

Shane Warne (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

The shock news of the passing of cricketing ‘Spin King’ Shane Warne has not only taken the cricket world by surprise but some of the greats in golf have also welled up upon learning of Warne’s passing – at age just 52.

“Warnie’, as he was known affectionately to everyone around the globe, died of a heart attack while on vacation in Thailand.

The Aussie-born cricketing great took 702 Test wickets in his career, and while it was cricket that made Warnie a legend, it was golf his next favourite sporting passion.

Warnie had been last seen at a golf event when he teamed with Kiwi Ryan Fox at the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last October in Scotland. In speaking of Fox, one of the first congratulatory text messages the New Zealander received soon after his recent DP World Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic win at Al Hamra was from his Dunhill Links partner.

Warnie had been a great supporter of the annual Dunhill team event since 2001 when the pro-amateur format of the tournament replaced the former Dunhill Cup. The Dunhill Links has always been a great chance for some of the best cricketers, footballers, and celebrities in the world to compete alongside some of Europe’s best golfers, awith the likes of Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham and Michael Vaughan regular Scotland starters.

In the earlier years of the event, Warne partnered fellow Aussie Peter O’Malley and their golfing relationship became so strong that Warnie caddied for O’Malley when ‘POM’ made his Senior British Open debut in 2015 at Sunningdale.

An extended break that year between Ashes Tests allowed Warne time on the golf course, but at that time he was, in his own words, just carrying a bag. Warnie was commentating for Sky Sports on the Ashes series in which England and Australia are currently tied at 1-1 after two Tests.

A year after the inaugural Dunhill Links, there’s a great photograph taken in 2002 at the Monte Carlo Golf Club when Warnie and fellow Australian cricketer Steve Waugh taken with Gary Player in the pro-am for the European Seniors Tour Monte Carlo Invitational.

Warnie’s also played golf with some of the stars of the Ladies European Tour including Carly Booth.

In his very short lifetime, Warnie was a regular guest at golfing charity events and pro-ams around the world including later in 2015 when he and Aussie rugby legend, Nick Farr-Jones joined the pro-am group at The Australian club featuring Jordan Spieth, the then reigning Masters and US Open champion, and reigning Australian Open title-holder. There is a great shot taken that day of Spieth teeing-off with a cricket bat.

A year later in 2016 England golfer Andy Sullivan found his BMW PGA Championship partners being Warnie and ‘Beefy’ Botham.

Warnie and golfing legend Tiger Woods became friends, having met a few times when Woods traveled to tee-up in Australia. Two years ago, Warnie shared a picture with Woods taken at a pro-am dinner in Melbourne.

In subsequent interviews following their meeting, Warnie spoke about the time the duo spent together and their similarities. Warnie revealed he and Tiger Woods spoke about the mental aspect of sports and overcoming setbacks. Warne also revealed that the duo talked about entertaining people and messing with their opponents was something that they certainly enjoyed.

Alfred Dunhill leads the ‘golfing’ Twitter posts in memory of Warnie:

Heading the golfer tributes to Warnie is four-time major-winning Ernie Els:

Tony Johnstone:

Trevor Immelman:

Scott Hend & Bernd Wiesberger

Wade Ormsby:

Paul McGinley:

Wayne ‘Radar’ Riley (SKY Sports Golf)

Ryan Fox:

Bernie McGuire – writer, Irish Golfer:

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