John O’Leary at the 1982 Irish Open (Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland)Sign up to FREE email alerts from Irish Mirror – dailySubscribeWe will use your email address to send you newsletters. Please see ourPrivacy Noticefor more information on how we use your data and your data protection rights.Thank you for subscribingSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email
Paul McGinley and Sam Torrance have paid tribute to former Irish Open winner John O'Leary, who has died aged 70.
O'Leary, who hailed from Dublin, was only the third home-based player to win the Irish Open when he triumphed at Portmarnock in 1982.
It wasn't until 2007 that his feat was emulated by Padraig Harrington, who won at Adare Manor – and was presented the trophy by O'Leary himself.
O'Leary passed away after a long illness and McGinley tweeted: "More sad news in the passing of my friend and fellow Irishman ‘Jonno‘ O'Leary – always a dedicated follower of fashion and all round great guy – what a year 2020 has been so far…be lucky everybody in these uncertain times".
Torrance who, like McGinley, guided Europe's Ryder Cup team to victory, also took to Twitter to express his condolences.
The Scot said: "So sad to hear of the passing of one of my dearest friends and roommate for 10 years on tour. RIP my old pal John O'Leary".
O'Leary represented GB and Ireland in the Ryder Cup in 1975, when the tourists were well beaten by the USA in Pennsylvania.
He was a golf pro on the tour for 19 years, having moved up from the amateur ranks in 1970 – his Irish Open success was one of two in total on the European Tour.
While on the European Tour's Board of Directors, he was instrumental in bringing the Ryder Cup to Ireland for the first and as yet only time when it was played at the K Club in 2006.
European Tour CEO Keith Pelley remarked: “John made a huge contribution to the evolution of the European Tour, firstly as a successful player and then as a long-serving member of the Tour’s Board of Directors.
“Above all he loved our game. That’s the one thing I always remember about John – how much he loved golf and what it gave him and his family.
"He was always telling stories and he was a true ambassador for our sport.
"We will sorely miss him, and our thoughts are with his family and friends".