Christy O’Connor Sr., 1924-2016

Somewhat lost in the weekend’s hoopla about The Players Championship—at least on this side of the Atlantic—was the death on Saturday of Christy O’Connor Sr., at age 91.

One of Britain’s greatest players of the 1950s through 1970s, he was known in Ireland simply as “Himself.” Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Christy O’Connor Sr. was a “larger than life character and the owner of the best pair of wrists in the game.” O’Connor won 24 European Tour titles as well as many other events around the world, and recorded 10 top-1o finishes in the Open Championship, including runner-up in 1965.

He also played on 10 European Ryder Cup teams from 1955 to ’73. His nephew, two-time Ryder Cupper Christy O’Connor Jr., died in January at aged 67. Current European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke said, “Christy was in many ways the father of Irish golf and his death, so soon after that of his nephew Christy Junior, means Ireland has lost two Ryder Cup legends in the space of five months. Christy Senior was a golf icon and a wonderful person, as well. He did so much for the game he graced for many years while the Ryder Cup to some extent is what it is today because of his passion for it. Irish golf in particular and golf in general has lost one of its greatest heroes.”