GolfDifferent Strokes

Different Strokes: Six Irish golfers heading to Perth for World Transplant Games

Golf correspondent Philip Reid takes his weekly look around the the game and home and abroad

A sextet of golfers are among those who will represent Ireland in next month’s return of the World Transplant Games, which takes place in Perth, Australia from April 15th-21st, with the golfers competing in the global event – in singles and pairs – at The Wembley Golf Club.

Due to Covid, the WTG have been in a hiatus for the past four years but its return has given the golfers – ranging in age from 36 to 75 – an opportunity to compete internationally.

As Gavin Noble, a former Olympic triathlete and the chef de mission to the Irish team for next year’s Olympics in Paris, informed them: “Each and every one of you on the Transplant Team are an inspiration as you are living your best life, honouring your donors and representing your country in sport. Sport brings people together as does organ donation.”

The six Irish golfers nominated to compete in the games, with the Irish Kidney Association tasked with managing and supporting the team, are: Tony Gavigan (Navan), Ronald Grainger (Castleknock), Michael Kiely (Mitchelstown), Hugh Nolan (Doneraile) and Pat O’Sullivan (Mallow), along with Nick Heather, a bone-marrow transplant recipient, who is living in Melbourne and formerly a member of Portmarnock Golf Club.


Open opportunity knocks for 1,400 golfers

Not quite calling all those hackers who aspire to follow in the footsteps of “The Phantom of the Open,” the film about Maurice Flitcroft who found numerous ways to attempt to qualify for golf’s oldest Major; rather, those with genuine aspirations!

The Royal and Ancient has opened entry submissions for this year’s 151st Open at Royal Liverpool for regional (one of which is at Co Louth Golf Club in Baltray) and final qualifying from which a minimum of 16 places in the field will be made available.

It is anticipated that up to 1,400 golfers are expected to compete across the 13 regional qualifying events on June 26th for a place in final qualifying. The entry fee is £150 and amateur players must have an official handicap of 0.4 or lower to enter.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, the executive director of championships at the R&A, said in announcing the window (closing date is June 1st): “Regional and Final qualifying events have always stirred up drama and excitement as golfers compete to earn their place in The Open and we anticipate this year being no different.”

Word of Mouth

“I’ve had my chances before and it’s not happened for me but I think I’ve got a lot of events left in me and I don’t plan on winning once, I would like to win multiple, multiple times. When my day comes, that will be great” – Tommy Fleetwood on seeking that elusive breakthrough win on the PGA Tour. A six-time career winner on the DP World Tour, Fleetwood’s third place finish in the Valspar nevertheless made him just the second player ever on the PGA Tour to accumulate more than $15 million in career earnings without a win, joining Cameron Tringale on that particular list.

Twitter Twaddle

I didn’t get to watch it live as I playing @HoagClassic but I was getting updates as I went along from some obliging fans. It was more nerve wracking than a 3 footer on these poa annua greens @IrishRugby – Pádraig Harrington revealing how he managed to keep in touch with Ireland’s Grand Slam ambitions. Harrington finished seventh in the event won by Ernie Els. The Dubliner is also in the field for this week’s Galleri Classic in California on the Champions Tour, where Darren Clarke is also competing.

@mattbaldwin26 mate, what a lesson in perseverance you are right now. Huge congratulations on your win on the @DPWorldTour today. Thoroughly deserved – David Howell congratulating Matt Baldwin after he won the SDC Championship in South Africa, his first win on the DP World Tour coming in his 200th appearance.

Welcome to @TGL! – Tiger Woods’s way of announcing Rickie Fowler as the latest player to sign up for the stadium golf league featuring six teams that he has developed with Rory McIlroy. It is due to get under way in January 2024.

By the Numbers: 3-2-1

A trio of Irish players are in the field for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas: Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power compete in the event which runs Wednesday to Sunday, initially with group qualifying before the knock-out phase kicks in on Saturday.

Leona Maguire defends her Drive On Championship title on the LPGA Tour in Arizona this week where Stephanie Meadow is also competing.

Tom McKibbin is the lone Irish player in the field for the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, a co-sanctioned event on the DP World and Sunshine Tours. John Murphy (third reserve) may yet make it into the tournament as he bids to end a barren run of missed cuts.

On this day: March 21st, 1982

“Pate Wins Golf With A Splash” was the headline which the New York Times used to mark Jerry Pate’s victory in the Tournament Players Championship at Sawgrass, where he claimed his eighth – and last win – on the PGA Tour and used the occasion to push two distinguished gentlemen into the lake beside the 18th green.

One of them was PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, the other was course designer Pete Dye, with Pate joking that he would use his $90,000 winner’s cheque to rebuild all 18 greens on the Dye layout.

Pate, too, decided to jump into the water to celebrate a tournament win which came with a final round 67 for an eight-under-par total of 280, which gave him a two strokes winning margin over runners-up Brad Bryant and Scott Simpson.

Pate closed the deal in style with a birdie on the par-three 17th and then hitting a five-iron approach to two feet on the 18th for back-to-back birdies. Pate had won the US Open in 1976 in his rookie season and, at age 28, claimed the Players as his last tour win.

In the Bag: Taylor Moore (Valspar Championship)

Driver: Ping G430 LST (10.5 degrees)

3-wood: Ping G430 Max (16 degrees)

7-wood: Ping G430Max (19.75 degrees)

Irons: Ping i230 (4), Ping S55 (5-PW)

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro (50, 54 and 60 degrees)

Putter: Ping PLD Oslo Prototype

Ball: Titleist ProV1

Know the Rules


A player takes lateral relief from a red penalty area by correctly dropping a ball in the two club-length relief area. While the player is assessing their next shot, a gust of wind blows the ball back into the penalty area. What is the ruling?


There is no penalty and the player must replace the ball back on its original spot. This is covered by Rule 9.3 which states “if the player puts the original ball or another ball into play by dropping, placing or replacing it, and natural forces cause the ball at rest to move and come to rest in another area of the course or out of bounds, the ball must be replaced in its original spot.”