With the Horizon Irish Open set to get underway in a few day’s time at the K Club, we’re counting down our top-10 from years gone by…..
10. Finch takes a dip at Adare Manor – 2008
A celebratory swim is nothing new. Emotion and elation have often seen a tournament winner leaping into a greenside lake – see Paul McGinley at the 2002 Ryder Cup – but Richard Finch went one better at Adare Manor in 2008.
Unfortunately, umbrellas, rain gear and sodden feet are commonplace at an Irish Open, but Finch was prepared to take dripping wet to new extremes and get up close and real personal with the River Maigue.
Rory McIlroy, playing in his first ever Irish Open as a professional, shot under par in three of his four rounds to finish tied for sixth, and Gary Murphy, seeking his first ever Tour win, birdied four of his first six holes in the final round to leap into contention and ultimately take a tie for third, but nobody was able to reel Finch in.
Staying committed to the shot is one of golf’s most basic fundamentals, but few have ever been as committed as Finch was when hitting his approach to the par-5 18th hole. His second shot having come to rest on the steep bank, Finch assessed his options before deciding to go for broke.
The ball well above his feet, he swung, made contact, then with eyes only for the ball, stumbled backwards ending up three-quarters submerged in the lake to first howling laughter and then rapturous applause from the galleries when he re-emerged with a wide smile on his face.
An impressive feat, even more so when considering that his ball found the putting surface affording him the luxury of three putts and a two-stroke victory and €416,600 in prizemoney.
“It was not a choice really,” he replied when asked about his early bath. “It was a bit of an awkward stance, but I never gave falling in a thought. The momentum of the follow-through took me round and in.”
Not the biggest-named winner of an Irish Open, or the most memorable for the previous 71 holes, but for comical value, it can’t be beaten.
That’s one way to make a splash on Tour.
Commitment to the shot
Richard Finch fell in the water at the 2008 Irish Open 🌊 pic.twitter.com/m3Ffq0kYhG
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) March 31, 2023