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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 15:12 GMT
O'Connor and Panton are honoured
Christy O'Connor
O'Connor is simply knows as "Himself"
Christy O'Connor and John Panton have been made honorary life members of the European Tour.

O'Connor played in 10 successive Ryder Cups and was a member of Great Britain and Ireland's winning side in 1957.

O'Connor, now 80, also represented Ireland in the World Cup 15 times and won the event in 1958.

Panton, 88, appeared in three Ryder Cups, played 13 times for Scotland in the World Cup and continued to play at the highest level into his 50s.

O'Connor, who had 24 Tour wins, said: "I'm delighted. It was a very pleasant surprise when I heard, and it is a great honour.

Beating Sam Snead was right up there with the Open at St Andrews
John Panton

"We had a lot of special days, but the highlights were winning the Ryder Cup in 1957 and the World Cup in 1958.

"Also playing on the tour outside Ireland for the first time in 1953 when I played the great Sir Henry Cotton in the semi-final of the Swallow Penfold Tournament and he beat me on the 23rd."

Panton, who turned professional 70 years ago, said: "You don't expect to receive awards such as this at my age, and I feel very honoured.

"There have been plenty of highlights, but winning the British Match Play and also beating Sam Snead are right up there, along with the Open at St Andrews."

At St Andrews in 1970, Panton, aged 53, shot the lowest final-day round in gale force winds to tie for ninth behind Jack Nicklaus.




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