Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Paul Dunne - from the Wannabes to the Gonnabe

When Paul first took the lead
I would like to thank Paul Dunne for his performance at The Open. It was majestic and his round on Sunday was the stuff of legend.

Admit it… what red-blooded golfer wannabe hasn’t gone to bed at night dreaming of playing The Open, walking up the 18th, doffing the cap and then
sinking the winning putt? I know I have. And that’s why I’m thanking Paul, because he made the dreams of so many golfers a reality.

OK, so he didn’t win… and he didn’t win the Silver Medal… but which would you prefer: the Silver Medal or the chance to say “I led the Open Championship at the end of the third day.”? He walked up the 18th on Sunday, the leader, towing the world’s best golfers in his wake. The world sat up and took notice… and a legend was born. His name was mentioned in the same breath as Bobby Jones. How many golfers can say that?

His Amateur World Ranking was 80th at the start of The Open. It’ll be intriguing to see where he is when it’s next updated.

And perhaps the biggest compliment of all came on Twitter:

Not Spieth, not Zach Johnson, not McIlroy… but Dunne!

In another sign of his performance/presence/popularity, his Twitter followers exploded. On Thursday, when most of the golfing world didn’t know of his existence, he had around 3,000 followers (probably Irish and University of Alabama). By Monday night, he had reached 22,000.

Humble, positive, grateful... a great example for those that follow.
True, it doesn’t mean much and no doubt his following will continue to rise as he heads towards the Walker Cup, but it is a sign of the times. After that, he plans to turn Pro and no doubt he will make his mark quickly. 

As someone who has ‘walked up the 18th’, on so many Open Championship occasions (to beat Watson, Seve, Tiger… but never Padraig), I can put my dreams to rest… at least for another couple of years. I just have to think of what Paul achieved and know that it really is possible.

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