Ahead of his opening round at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship yesterday, Irish rugby’s all-time record try scorer Brian O'Driscoll was struggling with his putting stroke. Luckily, Fintan Bonner, St Andrews Links customisation team member, was on-hand to lend his fellow Irishman a helping hand.
“Coming from Ireland and being a massive rugby fan I couldn't believe my luck when I walked over to the practice putting green and saw one of my sporting heroes Brian O'Driscoll,” said Bonner. “Brian is an absolute legend in the world of rugby and is pretty much worshipped in Ireland.”
Bonner cast his eye over the former British and Irish Lions captain as he geared up for his tee time at St Andrews and immediately identified where O’Driscoll could make some improvements.
“After a short period of time noticing that he wasn’t particularly comfortable with his stroke,” said Fintan. “I approached him, introduced myself and asked if he needed any help. Brian explained that he had been struggling with his putting for some time, and was at a loss in knowing why.
"I'm not sure who was happier: Brian for putting better, or me for coaching an Irish legend." - Fintan Bonner
“At this stage, I had him hit some putts from different ranges so I could fully understand what was happening with his technique. After observing him for a while, it became apparent that his shoulder alignment wasn't square and his right hand was very active in the stroke. Therefore getting the ball started on line was extremely difficult.
“Once we made the changes to his stroke, we saw an immediate improvement and my work was done. I'm not sure who was happier: Brian for putting better, or me for coaching an Irish legend.
“I wish Brian all the best for this week and, of course, hope he holes lots of putts.”
Brian O'Driscoll feels the benefits
It would appear Fintan’s guidance has indeed helped O’Driscoll, 35, improve his work on the greens as he and partner Oliver Wilson shot a six-under-par 66 at Carnoustie in round one.
Read more --> Five stars to watch at the Alfred Dunhill Links
Brian O'Driscoll teed off at 10:39am at Kingsbarns, today, with Wilson who led the tournament after round one. Entry is free for the next two days of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.