Irish golfer Christy O'Connor Jr's unexpected death at age 67 (January 6, 2016) brought back European Ryder Cup memories of his 2-iron to the 18th green in 1989 that O'Connor described as "the shot of my life." The 17-time tour winner was a 1-up upset winner over American Fred Couples, who missed the green with a 9-iron at the home hole after watching O'Connor's shot from 220 yards come to rest just 4 feet from the pin. When Couples chipped on and missed his par putt, he conceded O'Connor's birdie.
The YouTube video of the emotional aftermath is worth checking out. O'Connor, the oldest player on the team at age 41, had been snubbed by European captain Tony Jacklin in 1985 when the Irishman felt he was deserving. He had played in only one previous Ryder Cup, going 0-2 in 1975. At the Belfry in 1989, O'Connor had played just one team match prior to singles, and lost that, too. The victory over Couples was the only Ryder Cup point he ever earned. But it was a big one. It was the seventh match of the day and got the Europeans within one point of the 14 needed to retain the Cup. Often overlooked: The Americans won the last four singles matches that day to earn a tie.