The Staysure Tour paid tribute to Eamonn Darcy as he called time on a fantastic professional career at the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters.
To many he is best known for holing the winning putt in the historic 1987 Ryder Cup in the Sunday Singles against Ben Crenshaw, but there is far more to the Delgany-man after 46 years playing across both the European Tour and Staysure Tour.
He believes he has played in more than 800 professional events globally, with 740 appearances across the two Tours, 90 European Tour top ten results and over 30 top ten finishes on the Staysure Tour, including four memorable European Tour victories from 1977 to 1990.
However, in the sunshine in Benidorm, Darcy brought his professional career to a close with a bogey-free round of 67 – one birdie shy of shooting his age – as he was cheered home on the 18th green.
“I was trying so hard to shoot my age out there,” he said. “It would’ve been fantastic on my last tournament round.
“I think I was inspired that this was it, this was my last round, and I wanted to go out in style. The game has been so good to me and thought it would be fitting to shoot a nice score.
“It was emotional coming up the last and it was great to see such a crowd at the end – it was like the old days.
“I’ve been thinking about retiring for a while after my injuries. I thought it was time to call it a day and leave it to the younger guys.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I’m certainly going to miss these guys. I haven’t played many tournaments over the last few seasons, but it was emotional on the last as everything came to an end.”
With a career glittered with highlights it can be difficult to pick out a particular putt, victory or defining moment. The putt to clinch Europe’s maiden Ryder Cup win on American soil in 1987 will be looked upon as the Irishman’s greatest accolade, but four European Tour titles, including the 1990 Dubai Desert Classic, as well as the 1988 Dunhill Cup triumph, means there are a lot to choose from.
“The highlight of my career is probably when we won The Ryder Cup for the first time in America,” he said. “I holed that putt down the hill, which meant so much for the victory.
“To captain Ireland in the Dunhill Cup when we won, that was great too. The Spanish Open back in 1983 meant a lot as well, as I love Spain, so to come back here and finish off my career in the sun is great.
“Golf has been great to me. It’s such a wonderful game. It’s a very humbling game. I could’ve gone out today and shot a bad score and drifted off into the sunset but there was a challenge there today, which was fantastic.
“In my last competitive round, I had a challenge, which is the way it should be, because over the last few years it hasn’t been a real challenge for me – I haven’t set goals like I used to. Today I had a goal and I nearly did it.”