Death of Philomena Garvey

Philomena GarveyIrish golf was in morning on Tuesday following the death of Baltray legend Philomena Garvey.

The winner of a record 15 Irish Ladies Close titles between 1946 and her retirement in 1970, she won the British Ladies Amateur Championship at Gleneagles in 1957.

Born on 26 April 1926, she was played in six Curtis Cup matches between 1948 and 1960 but withdrew in protest from the 1958 side because the "Union Jack" was used as the badge on the Great Britain and Ireland team uniforms.

The flag of the four home unions had been used for previous matches and while she refused to play solely under the Union Jack in 1958, her decision forced the Ladies Golf Union to include the tricolour in future Curtis Cup emblems.

That paved the way for many Irish women to follow in her footsteps and avoid a potentially disastrous political banana skin.

Recalling the incident years later, Garvey said: "In my view, nobody could play after me if I didn't take my stance about the Union Jack - not Mary McKenna or Ita Butler or any other Irishwoman. So I felt that as a player I had to make my views known.

"I got a few rude letters from England, but I was happy with my stance."

She became Ireland’s first woman professional in 1964 but was re-instated as an amateur in 1968 and bowed out of the game two years later when she beat Moira Earner to capture her 15th Irish Close title at Royal Portrush.

She was 83.