City councillors have paid tribute to Christy O’Connor snr, who died on Saturday.
Mr O’Connor, a native of Knocknacarra, was a legend of the golfing world, chalking up a total of 63 professional wins during his long career. He played in every Ryder Cup from from 1955 to 1973 and won a total of 23 British and Irish tournaments between 1955 and 1972.
A book of condolence was opened by Mayor of Galway Frank Fahy on Monday and will be available to sign in City Hall until close of business tomorrow (Friday ).
Mayor Fahy led the tributes to Mr O’Connor, affectionately known as “Himself” in golfing circles, on Monday. Mr O’Connor was awarded the Freedom of Galway City in 1970. “I wish to express by condolences to the O’Connor family,” Mayor Fahy said. “May he rest in peace.”
Cllr Donal Lyons recalled the story of how O’Connor’s love of golf was inspired by trips over the wall of his childhood home to Galway Golf Club. “It’s unimaginable the ambassador he was, for Galway first of all, but for Ireland as well,” Cllr Lyons said. “He brought the ordinary man into the game of golf. He was so well respected, nationally and internationally.”
Cllr Billy Cameron said Mr O’Connor had “paved the way for a generation of Irish golfers”. “As a city, sporting heroes were scarce on the ground, and in that respect Christy led the way there as well, from humble beginnings to become one of the foremost golfers in the world,” he added.
“He was a great sportsman, back in the day when it wasn’t easy to be a great sportsman,” Cllr Noel Larkin commented. “He put Galway on the map. It’s a great loss to the city to lose both the O’Connors in a short space of time.”
Mr O’Connor’s nephew, legendary golfing champion Christy O’Connor jnr, also a native of Knocknacarra, passed away in January.