Demon Damien a world-beater says Joey

Portmarnock pro Joey Purcell reckons Damien McGrane would be a matchplay nightmare for any rival.

McGrane spent three years learning his trade as a PGA assistant to Purcell in the early '90s.

And Purcell has always believed that his star pupil had the talent and the ruthless competitive streak you need to succeed.

He said: “He’s a dogged little guy. I thought one of the great quotes was when one of the reporters in Dubai asked him if he’d be worried about playing with Tiger.

Damien McGrane

"And Damien replied dead pan: ‘I’ve never needed to wear a nappy on the golf course before and I don’t see why I’d need one now.’

“Damien would be ruthless in the sense that he couldn’t care less who’s around him. He’d never mean to be rude but he could be very blunt in his responses.

“I remember him shooting a 66 gross in the captain’s prize at Headfort when he was only 16 or so and they had huge hopes for him then, as we all had, and it’s fantastic to see him come through the whole way.

“He had a short game that was second to none. The fellas on the tour would have given their right arm to have the short game Damien had, even at age 17 and 18.”

Recognising him as a hard-as-nail competitor, Purcell knows that McGrane would not be worried about taking on all comers at any level - including the Ryder Cup.

He said: “It doesn’t matter who Damien plays against, he certainly wouldn’t shiver. He hasn’t a care in the world, he’d go out there, play his own game and not worry about anyone else.”