Seven weeks ago John Catlin was booted off the European Tour - now he's a two-time winner. And all in front of an unusual crowd at the Irish Open. Alex Perry wraps up the week's action
What on earth is going on with the weather? Days ago I was sleeping on top of the duvet with every window in my house open and this weekend I caved and put the heating on for the first time in months. It had an effect on the Irish Open, too, as temperatures dropped to -4 overnight and forced a delay to proceedings at Galgorm.
Overnight leader Aaron Rai was OK with the sudden dip in temperature – he wears two gloves, you see – but he could do nothing about John Catlin’s stunning 6-under 64 that saw the American win by two for his second European Tour title in three weeks.
It’s been quite a zero-to-hero rise for Catlin. The Californian, you might remember, was booted out of the European Tour bubble for visiting a restaurant with his caddie ahead of the English Championship and breaching the strict Covid-19 restrictions put in place.
Since being allowed back after a period of self-isolation, the 29-year-old Californian, who played most of his golf up until this year on the Asian Tour, has been in fine form, winning the Andalucia Masters and the Irish Open either side of a T8 in Portugal.
To put it into context what this means financially for Catlin, he had played 32 European Tour events up to the end of the UK Swing and earned a little over €250,000. In the three weeks since he’s earned almost double that.
But while Catlin takes home the trophy, the big bucks, and the realisation that his dream of teeing up in a major is edging closer, this week will always be remembered for some cows.
With fans still not allowed into any of the events, farmer Billy O’Kane and his herd took full advantage.
How is this a normal sport?
And of course the BBC found him and interviewed him…
Anyway, do your own Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston joke. It’s late and I’m tired.
Here’s the final leaderboard if that’s your thing…
- Gear check: What’s in Catlin’s bag?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship it was another American journeyman, Hudson Swafford, getting the job done.
It’s the 33-year-old’s second victory in six years on the PGA Tour, having won the CareerBuilder Challenge in 2017.
It’s a good time to get back in the circle for Swafford. For the first time in the tournament’s history, it wasn’t an opposite field event, meaning an increased purse and the full 500 FedEx Cup points were on offer, as well as a spot in the 2021 Masters and PGA Championship. But, more importantly, exemption on the PGA Tour through 2023.
And look what it meant to him…