Tributes paid to former Ryder Cup player John O’Leary

Tributes have been paid to former Ryder Cup player John O’Leary, who has died at the age of 70.

The Irishman played on the European Tour for more than two decades, winning twice including the 1982 Irish Open at Portmarnock, and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the 1975 Ryder Cup.

When O’Leary retired as professional he joined the European Tour’s board of directors, on which he sat until March 2019, and was credited with playing a significant part in bringing the Ryder Cup to Ireland for the first time in 2006 when Europe won at The K Club.

“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 starting on Jan 2 with Edinburgh Jimmy’s (former caddie James Rae) passing – be lucky everybody in these uncertain times,” victorious 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley tweeted.

Sam Torrance wrote: “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 Oleary.”

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley praised O’Leary for his contribution on and off the course.

“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 told

“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.”