Men's Golf

Why Have Irish Professional Golfers Been Ostracized ?

Peter HughesSenior Analyst IOctober 3, 2008

One of the greatest accolades to a professional golfer in Europe or the United States is to be nominated as captain of a Ryder Cup team.

Those who have been granted the honour hold it in high esteem, because in general it is an indication of their standing in and contribution to the game of golf.

Ireland has had her fair share of professionals who qualify for this status on the world stage.

Fred Daly was the first Irishman in 1947 to make the Ryder Cup team and was quickly followed by Harry Bradshaw and Christy O'Connor.

Graeme McDowell was the 19th to join the list this year.

The post-mortems on the Vahalla match have taken place, and much emphasis has been directed towards who will be European captain at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Nick Faldo has stated he is not interested. Some have suggested Sandy Lyle, a much respected and worthy nomination from Scotland. Others have muted Ian Woosnam, who led the team in 2006 and he has reacted favourably to the suggestion.

Other names have been bandied about, but strange as it might appear, Irishmen have been conspicuous by their absence.

Is there a reason behind this state of affairs ?

It cannot be a lack of suitable and most worthy candidates.

Christy O'Connor Jr., Des Smith, Eamon D'Arcy, Ronan Rafferty, Eddie Polland, and even David Feherty are still alive and kicking!

With the galaxy of "young lions" appearing on the European Tour, it is very likely Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley will find it difficult to qualify for the team, should they not be given consideration?  At least they should be mentioned as possibles.

The USPGA have used a tried-and-trusted method of ensuring those worthy are honoured by rotating the position on a match basis and have also gone as far as to appoint "Honorary Captains" in the persons of Vic Gezzi, Walter Hagen, Ed Dudley, and Lloyd Mangrum.

The European selectors would do well to follow this policy.

So far, a fistful of Englishmen, six from Scotland and Wales, a Spaniard, and a German have been honoured.

Will the Irish finally be acknowledged in 2010?

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