10 of the best: An iconic changing of the guard at Woodbrook

Mark McGowan

Christy O'Connor Jnr in his 1989 Ryder Cup match v Fred Couples (Photo Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

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…..

6. An iconic changing of the guard at Woodbrook – 1975

After a 25-year absence, The Irish Open made its eagerly anticipated return to the European Tour schedule when Woodbrook played host to the tournament in 1975.


The event also represented the changing of the guard in many ways in Irish golf circles at least when the master, Christy O’Connor Snr handed the reins over to his nephew and apprentice, Christy O’Connor Jnr, who wowed home crowds en route to claiming a milestone win.

In a field that included the likes of reigning Open Champion, Tom Watson, Christy Jnr swept the stars aside with rounds of 66-70-69-70 for a 21-under par total, good enough for a one-stroke win on a leaderboard that included Eamonn Darcy three shots back in a tie for third.

Christy would also set a scoring record that wouldn’t be beaten until Jon Rahm would post an incredible 24-under at a benign Portstewart in 2017.

It was Christy Jnr’s second European Tour win, but his first solo title having shared the Martini International title with Australian Ian Stanley in June, two months previous.

It would be 14 years before Jnr would climb back onto the podium as a European Tour winner, the same year he would hit his iconic 2-iron at The Belfry’s 18th to secure victory over Fred Couples and retain the Ryder Cup for Europe.

For his part, “Himself”, Christy Snr wasn’t going to go down quietly either in 1975, burying a stunning ace at the par-3 17th on his way to a closing 71 and a top-30 finish.

Christy Jnr sadly passed away in 2016, but will always be remembered as the man who won the revived Irish Open and who hit possibly the greatest shot in Ryder Cup history.

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