Cork’s Shane O’Connell is enjoying his life on tour

Shane O’Connell is enjoying a well-earned vacation The Kinsale man has traveled more than most in 2022.

Alcady, along with 25-year-old John Murphy, will have visited 15 different countries in 2022.

This included two trips to the United States and two more trips to South Africa. He’s been on the Murphy bag in all 34 events this year, and was there to celebrate with when he qualified for the DP World Tour in November.

Shane hopped on the bag for Murphy in June 2021 when the Walker Cup star turned pro and hasn’t looked back since.

Travel is an essential part of touring life, and Shane had to navigate air travel, hotels, and rental cars before they even hit a golf course, and in most cases it would be the first time they headed to a new venue for the tournament.

“In general we try to keep each week as cool as possible,” Shin explained.

“One of the things John really understood was keeping energy and the importance of being fresh on tournament days. Mondays are usually travel days and then we play 18 on Tuesday and 9 on Wednesday if we can.

“It’s rare that we get to do a lot of sightseeing but at Leopard Creek back in December I was lucky enough to take a Wednesday morning safari at 5am before training.”

When it comes to being a tour camper, O’Connell has to handle the role and has earned a reputation as one of the hardest to work on tour. Now that he’s heading into his third season, he knows what he needs to do each week.

“Most of my work is in the early parts of the week,” Shane said.

John Murphy and Shane O'Connell are photographed during the Rolex Calling Tour Grand Final at the Alkanada Golf Club in Mallorca.  Photo: Niall O'Shea
John Murphy and Shane O’Connell are photographed during the Rolex Calling Tour Grand Final at the Alkanada Golf Club in Mallorca. Photo: Niall O’Shea

“It’s all about getting to know the course as best you can. Knowing exactly where you can and can’t get to it. Luckily John has a Trackman and he’s very helpful, every day in the warm-up we get his load numbers.

“Then I walk the course before each round to see the pins, this is very useful for picking a putter as we know it, for example if there is a ramp behind the pin or to the left or right of it we can use it or if there is a pin just above a ramp and we know the load number to cover the ramp.”

While O’Connell and Murphy are good friends, the course is a workplace where decisions must be made on every shot, and both must be confident in their approach.

“John knows his game very well so we keep it steady by chatting through every shot and discussing the obvious things about distance/wind/slopes around the hole if any and then where we want to play it.

“Once we talk to him we will see 9 times out of 10 he picks the same club/shot. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Case Care at Pebble Beach back in January.

“He talked to me about the importance of adding value to your player and doing everything you can to help him perform.”

Off the track, O’Connell has built his own circle of friends and they will get back together in 2023.

“There is a nice little group of 4 or 5 of us who have been together this season on the Challenge Tour and luckily all of our players have applied to the 2023 DP World Tour so we can be together again.

“Irish caddies are great too and they are always looking out for each other so it would be nice to get to spend time with more of them this year. Since I met Simon Keelan back in January he couldn’t have been more helpful and it was great to catch up.” All year round in Dallas, Dar and the Irish Open.”

Back home, O’Connell still played a bit of golf and rugby and was part of the Kinsale team that won the O’Neill Cup in October.

“I really enjoy playing rugby when I’m at home, my brother is the captain and it was great to win a cup with the lads when I was at home.”

When asked about his favorite event in 2022, Sheen narrowed it down to two.

“It would be Pebble Beach or the JP McManus Pro Am. They were two special places with huge crowds, and the atmosphere was amazing.

“Adare was like an All-Ireland golf final with the crowd and just the setting for the whole event was surreal. Looking back on 2022 I was very fortunate to be the next John in some great moments and I have no doubt 2023 will be even better.

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