So it’s official … Northern Ireland currently produces some of the greatest golfers in the world. I’ve never been a huge golf fan … really only ever watching the majors when they came about, but the past few weeks have had me glued to it.
In mid-June, Rory McIlroy bounced back from the disappointment of the US Masters, stunning the golfing world with a masterclass at the US Open where he finished eight shots clear and broke numerous records in the process. It granted Northern Ireland status as one of very few countries to have back-to-back US Open champions, not bad for a country with a population of 1.8 million.
Fast forward four weeks and the British Open provided Northern Ireland with an even prouder moment when Darren Clarke held his nerve and clinched the title of 2011 Open Champion, making him the third golf major winner from Northern Ireland in 15 months … a truly remarkable achievement.
Twitter was buzzing with the news and one tweet summed it up perfectly…
It’s hard to explain what Darren’s win means to Northern Ireland . It’s not just about golf it’s about beating the odds. We are good at that.
@EamonnHolmes on Twitter
Sadly sandwiched between these two great sporting achievements was another glimpse of everything that is so badly wrong with things in Northern Ireland. The annual Twelfth parades caused a number of nights of rioting at flashpoints across the province causing numerous injuries to police officers and innocent people caught up in the senseless violence.
When are these stories finally going to be written out of our newspapers and replaced with stories of hope?