A video has been released commemorating the career of one of Ireland’s first-ever golfing superstars, Jimmy Bruen, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Bruen was a teenage prodigy who first came to national prominence when his father James senior managed to persuade the principal of Presentation College in Cork to give him some time off to try out for the Britain and Ireland team for the 1938 Walker Cup.
Just shy of his 18th birthday, he equalled the course record for an amateur at St Andrews to seal his place. A few weeks later he was part of the team that beat the USA, securing Britain and Ireland’s first-ever win in the competition.
Jimmy Bruen was Ireland's first golfing superstar. He was a record-breaker and a maverick!
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) May 8, 2020
He went on to win many of the amateur game’s top prizes, including the Irish Amateur Open and the Amateur Championship, otherwise known as the British Amateur Championship.
Arguably, Bruen never got to reach his full potential. World War II put his career on hold for six years before a wrist injury suffered at just 27 eventually ended his playing days at the top level.
His name is immortalised in the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield, one of the Irish game’s most prestigious prizes that forms part of the Golfing Union of Irelands (GUI) AIG Cups and Shields, one of Irelands largest sporting competitions.
Despite having his best days cut short by injury, Bruen remained immersed in golf until his untimely death at 52. He never stopped playing and was president of Cork GC at the time of his death.
Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, who features in the commemorative video, said: “I used to play a lot of scratch cups, and Jimmy Bruen had won them all.
“This name kept cropping up and the miracle things he did on the golf course – they were kind of like fairytale stories.”
The video was made by CNN Golf Correspondent Shane O’Donoghue, a long-time admirer of Bruen, who devoted a chapter of his 2007 book Legends in their Spare Time to Bruen. The video features rarely-seen before footage of the great man in action and contributions from well-known golfers past and present.
You can watch the video in full here: