Golf fans will long remember the events of last September when the European Team humbled their USA rivals to capture the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
There may have been no Irish-born players in Catriona Matthew’s victorious side though there were four Irish-born caddies, including two very proud caddies from Douglas in Cork walking the fairways and reading the greens that very special week at Gleneagles.
Simon Keelan and Roy Clarke are long-time friends but they were in the Scottish Highlands caddying on opposing teams. Keelan for Germany’s Caroline Masson and Clarke for American Jessica Korda.
Keelan grew up at Mahon GC and then at Douglas GC where one of his junior golfing colleagues and friends was Seamus Power.
For the next two decades their golf careers took them down very contrasting roads. Keelan headed across ‘The Pond’ for just over three years from early 2007 to April 2010 and worked at the Big Horn GC in Palm Springs, California, while Power’s path was somewhat different.
Keelan returned to Ireland to work for four years as a PGA Professional at Monkstown GC under Head Pro Cian McNamara. Indeed, Keelan caddied for McNamara in his European Tour debut at the 2013 Irish Open at Carton House. Also, in the field was Power, contesting his second Irish Open.
Keelan went to work from early 2016 for 18 months caddying on the Ladies European Tour for Spain’s talented Azahara Munõz and in September that year Munoz captured a fourth of five career LET titles with victory in the Andalucia Costa De Sol De Espana.
Keelan was back based in Ireland from June 2017 to November 2018 as Head Starter and Head of Outside Service at the exclusive Hogs Head resort in Waterville but by May, 2019 he was back caddying including the delight in carrying the clubs for Masson in a winning European Solheim Cup team.
A week later, Keelan was back in the States and now by Power’s side in Jackson, Mississippi for the second event of the PGA Tour’s 2019/20 wraparound schedule.
“Simon has been caddying for me since last September’s Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi,” said Power ahead of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
“Of course, it’s been an abbreviated season due to the three-month lockdown period but then Simon’s been on the bag since the end of last year.
“I’ve actually known him for a long time as we played a lot of junior golf together so he’s been a great asset and also he’s great company.
“Hopefully, we can do well this week here in Detroit and get ourselves into a few more PGA Tour events before the ‘19/’20 season winds-up at the end of next month.”