By Harry Keaney
A County Kerry family struck by tragedy last Christmas received a morale-boosting visit from three of the world’s top golfers two weekends ago.
Last Christmas Eve, Damien Fogarty, 18, from Waterville, was killed when an old wall fell on him. His brother, Patrick, 17, lost both his legs in the accident. There was bad weather at the time and the boys were helping customers take out groceries from the Fogarty family’s supermarket in Waterville when the accident occurred.
When Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods and Payne Stewart heard of the tragedy, they took time out from their preparations for the British Open to call to the Fogartys.
The three golfers had been practicing at the famed Waterville Golf Links course before heading on to Royal Birkdale Golf Club, near Southport, in England. O’Meara, who’s 41, went on to win the British Open, prevailing over Brian Watts and Woods.
Noel Cronin of Waterville Golf Links told the Echo that when Tiger Woods’s caddy, who is known as Fluff, last played Waterville with his friends, he visited the Fogartys and promised that if he ever had Woods in Waterville he would take him to visit the Fogartys.
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“I think it was a great tribute for these guys, who had so much to do and were planning for their trip to the British Open, to take time off and to visit this young lad who lost his brother and his two legs,” Cronin said. “It was a great honor for them to call into Patrick and his father and mother, P_draig and Lucille, and sister Louise.”