13 Of The Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

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We take a look at the best golf players from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

13 Of The Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have produced some incredibly talented golfers and Major champions.

Those golfers have also produced some truly iconic moments in the game.

So who are the best? We have taken a look at 13 of them here, starting with current world number one Rory McIlroy.

Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

Northern Ireland

Rory McIlroy

Born: 1989 Tour Wins: 27 Majors: 4

Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

Rory McIlroy winning the Tour Championship (Getty Images)

McIlroy was pipped to be the next big thing as a youngster and he has delivered on that early promise in his career so far. Four Major titles, 18 PGA Tour wins, 3-time FedEx Cup champion and he has played in five Ryder Cups, only being on the losing side once. When his career is all said and done, he will go down as one of the greatest ever.

Darren Clarke

Born: 1968 Tour Wins: 21 Majors: 1

Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

A winner all over the world, Darren Clarke's last victory as a professional came at the 2011 Open Championship in which he saw off the challenges of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson to win his only Major title. He also played in five Ryder Cups and captained the Europeans in 2016.

Fred Daly

Born: 1911 Tour Wins: 26 Majors: 1

Fred Daly was the first player from either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland to win a Major title and play in the Ryder Cup. His Major win came at the 1947 Open Championship and he also represented Great Britain that year too.

Graeme McDowell

Born: 1979 Tour Wins: 16 Majors: 1

An 11-time winner on the European Tour, McDowell has several moments that have defined his career. He won the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach, holed a crucial birdie putt on the 16th hole at Celtic Manor at the 2010 Ryder Cup which would go on to help Europe secure victory, and he also once beat Tiger Woods in a playoff to win the 2010 Chevron World Challenge.

Ronan Rafferty

Born: 1964 Tour Wins: 14 Majors: 0

Another multiple time European Tour winner, Rafferty's finest career moment came at the 1989 Ryder Cup in which he delivered a crucial singles point on Sunday. He beat Mark Calcavecchia 1-up to help Europe retain the Cup in a famous 14-all tie.

Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

Republic of Ireland

Padraig Harrington

Born: 1971 Tour Wins: 31 Majors: 3

Current Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington is one of Ireland's greatest players thanks to a resume that includes two Open Championships, a PGA Championship, 15 European Tour wins and six Ryder Cups (four victories).

Joe Carr

Born: 1922 Amateur Wins: 3 Majors: 0

Perhaps a lesser-known name compared to others on this list, Joe Carr has a strong case for being Ireland's greatest ever amateur. He won three British Amateur titles, was a semi-finalist in 1961 for the U.S. Amateur, and was interestingly the first Irishman to play in The Masters. He did so in 1967 and played the first two rounds with Jack Nicklaus.

Shane Lowry

Born: 1987 Tour Wins: 5 Majors: 1

Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

Lowry turned professional after winning the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur, and ten years later he would win his first Major title at the 2019 Open Championship which was famously hosted at Royal Portrush. No doubt more wins and possibly Ryder Cups are on the horizon.

Christy O'Connor Senior

Born: 1924 Tour Wins: 65 Majors: 0

Best Irish Golfers Of All Time

During the 1950's and 60's, O'Connor Sr couldn't stay out of the winners circle as he eventually racked up 65 wins as a professional. He also played in ten Ryder Cups, getting on the winning side once in 1957.

Harry Bradshaw

Born: 1913 Tour Wins: 18 Majors: 0

Bradshaw won many times as a pro on the European circuit and in Ireland but his most famous moment came in 1949 at The Open. During the second round his ball came to rest near broken glass of a beer bottle but instead of getting relief he played it as it lied and dropped a shot at the hole. It would prove crucial as he tied with Bobby Locke after four rounds of regulation play and then lost in a playoff the next day.

Christy O'Connor Junior

Born: 1948 Tour Wins: 17 Majors: 0

Another iconic O'Connor, Christy Junior is best known for beating Fred Couples at the 1989 Ryder Cup with his iconic 2-iron on the 18th hole at The Belfry.

Des Smyth

Born: 1953 Tour Wins: 24 Majors: 0

22 years separated Smyth's first and last wins on the European Tour. His first came in 1979 and last came in 2001 which makes him one of three golfers to have won in four different decades. Mark McNulty and Lee Westwood are the others.

Eamonn Darcy

Born: 1952 Tour Wins: 15 Majors: 0

Darcy's crowning achievement as a professional was beating Ben Crenshaw during the singles of the 1987 Ryder Cup which staved off the charging Americans.

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Sam Tremlett
Senior Staff Writer

A golfer for most of his life, Sam started playing the game to prove he was the best player out of his father and two brothers.
He quickly became a golf equipment expert and has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice, and spends a lot of his time putting golf gear, apparel and shoes to the test.  
He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since February 2018. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.

A jack of all trades across print and digital formats, Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 

Sam is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TS3
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #6