Supporting Opinion

There’s brass in muck and in sporting memorabilia too

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A great old friend of mine – all be he a man with more money than sense – was out one night in Kinsale Golf Club when into the clubhouse came the now late, great Christy O’Connor Junior.

The Galway man was famous for many reasons, but his greatest moment of all was at the Ryder Cup in 1989, when he hit a glorious two iron approach shot to the 18th hole at the Belfry, earning Europe a 14-14 draw to retain the trophy.

More than one golf auction over the years that followed claimed to be in the proud possession of that particular golf club – which led to the wags reckoning Christy must have played the entire Ryder Cup with a full bag of two-irons.

He didn’t have any clubs with him on the night he met my friend in Kinsale, but this golf fan was so thrilled to meet Junior that, on returning home in the small hours of the morning, he woke up his wife to tell her all about it.

And he also proudly showed off his new prized possession – a pair of Christy’s socks that had only set him back two hundred quid for a worthy cause.

“Were they the socks he won the Ryder Cup in?” his now-wide-awake wife enquired.

“No – these were the ones he had on him tonight,” came the reply.

Because my friend had proudly shelled out €200 for a pair of smelly socks that were worn, for no particularly memorable occasion, by the man whose two-iron shot helped Europe retain the 1989 Ryder Cup.

The new owner of Junior’s socks, it must be acknowledged, has long since given up the drink. But his story came back to mind recently when the New York branch of Sotheby’s announced that it was auctioning off a pair of boxing shorts worn by the great Muhammed Ali in his iconic ‘Thrilla in Manila’…for an estimated $6 million.

The silk Everlast shorts are autographed by the man himself and were worn when he won a grueling 14-rounder against Smokin’ Joe Frazier in their third and final contest to determine who would be Heavyweight Champion of the World back in 1975.


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