Delgany and the Ryder Cup
Delgany Golf Club has a unique place in Ryder Cup history. This small club has provided, or been closely associated with, 4 players on 9 Ryder Cup teams since 1953 when Republic of Ireland golfers were first eligible for selection.
Delgany’s Golfing Tradition
While golf has been arguably the major sporting pastime in north eastern Wicklow since Delgany Golf Club was founded in 1908, it also provided a career outlet for over 20 local players who were skilled enough to make a living at the game. Many of these represented local golfing families-Hayden, Walby, Martin, Darcy, Green, Bradshaw and others.
Delgany and the White House
The first professional attached to Delgany Golf Club in 1908 was Patrick J Doyle, Eamonn Darcy’s great uncle. He decided to emigrate to America in 1912 and had the good fortune to miss the Titanic in Cobh, when his train arrived late. He later took a safer route to the New World and became a popular teaching professional in America where his most famous pupil was William Howard Taft, 27th American President. In this way Delgany may have helped to popularise the game in America leading to the establishment of the Ryder Cup competition in 1927 between America and Great Britain.
Ryder Cup players associated with Delgany Golf Club:
Harry Bradshaw, Eamonn Darcy, Jimmy Martin, John O’Leary
Harry Bradshaw, Delgany’s first Ryder Cup player
Bradshaw is the name most closely associated with the Delgany Club as a Bradshaw has held the Club Professional job there for an unbroken 77 years through Ned and his sons Harry, Eddie and Jimmy up to 1989 when Jimmy retired. In fact they could not be more local as Harry was born in Killincarrig, reared in a lodge close to the Club and his grandparents lived in the forester’s cottage (now fallen) beside the present 16th green during his youth.
Harry was selected for the Ryder Cup team for the first time in 1953 when Ireland was added to the Great Britain team and the name was informally changed to Great Britain and Ireland (officially changed in 1973): he would have most likely been selected for the 1951 and the 1949 teams as they were some of his most successful golfing years, winning the Irish Open in 1947 and 1949. He played again in the 1955 Ryder Cup team and was on the winning Ryder Cup team in 1957 (this was their only victory over the American team between 1933 and 1977). So confident were the American team of another victory at Lindrick Golf Club, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire in 1957, they had renewed their insurance cover on the Cup before they left for England.
Eamonn Darcy was even more local to Delgany Golf Club as he was born and reared in a house beside the 7th tee. He played in 4 Ryder Cup competitions, and sank the putt at Muirfield Village, Ohio in 1987 to ensure the winning of the Cup. This was a slippery downhill 5 footer on the 18th green to beat Ben Crenshaw in their singles match. This was the first time America was beaten in the Ryder Cup on home turf. He subsequently missed out on automatic qualification for the 1989 competition by falling short in the Order of Merit qualifying total earnings by the tiny sum of £56!
Jimmy Martin was born and raised in Killincarrig and was selected on the Great Britain and Ireland team to contest the 1965 Ryder Cup in Royal Birkdale, Liverpool. He was most associated with Greystones Golf Club where his father was the Professional.
While John O Leary was born in South Dublin and is largely associated with Foxrock Golf Club, he was a junior member of Delgany Golf Club in his youth. He was selected for the Britain and Ireland team in the 1975 Ryder Cup. He played an important role behind the scenes, while a member of the Ryder Cup board, when the issue of an Irish venue for the Cup was raised and he helped Ireland secure the competition for the K Club in 2005? While there was no direct representation by Delgany in this contest the four-seater buggy that helps us climb from the 16th green to the 17th tees was used in Straffan to ferry players and VIPs around the Smurfit course during that amazing week.