Dead hamster in the works

By Brian Keogh

Finding a dead hamster in his golf bag isn't the worst thing that's happened David Probyn at an Irish Open venue.

The Tournament Director had to deal with high winds and flooding as last year's event at Carton House was forced into a Monday finish.

But after seeing almost everything on his travels around the world, Probyn was stunned to find a long lost furry friend at Adare Manor this week.

He said: "My daughter Ellie is eight and her hamster, Fudge, disappeared about four weeks ago.

"The last place I expected to find him was at the bottom on my golf bag. At least he's buried in a nice part of the world now."

The Irish Open Tournament Director discovered Fudge as he prepared to play Adare Manor.

But with the help of Adare's head greenkeeper, Joe O'Flaherty, he gave the roving rodent a five-star burial before giving the course the thumbs up.

Probyn added: "I truly believe we have a chance to set the Irish Open on a journey to a new level this year and the course will be a huge asset in that regard.

"It is a seriously demanding yet attractive championship test which I think we can look forward to seeing in great condition.

"Hopefully the sun will shine and we can have a more enjoyable week for all concerned."

Fudge was extricated from Probyn's golf bag by Dubliner O'Flaherty, who plans to have the course into tip top shape for the May 17-20 event.

O'Flaherty said: "I had to get poor Fudge out using a couple of golf clubs. He had gotten tangled up in a few loose threads at the bottom of the bag and couldn't get out.

"Judging by the grip on David's putter, he'd been gnawing away there for a while. But he got a nice burial in the Pet Cemetery behind the ninth green."

Built in 1832 by the second earl of Dunraven, Adare's pet cemetery has carved memorials to all the Dunraven family pets.