| 1.1°C Dublin

doing the rounds Golfing megastars trick Belfast medic into game of her life in thank-you to Covid frontliners


Close

Ellie McCarthy with Tommy Fleetwood

Ellie McCarthy with Tommy Fleetwood

Ellie McCarthy with Tommy Fleetwood

Belfast doctor Ellie McCarthy took time off from fighting Covid for a round of golf with Ryder Cup heroes Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood, and Henrik Stenson.

As golf lessons go you can't get many better qualified coaches than an Open champion and two of the best players in the world.

Ellie found herself the target of an elaborate ruse which saw her swap PPE for golf shoes and a few holes as part of a stellar four ball.

The Dubai-based doctor was tricked into the day of her life when the European Tour rolled into the principality for the final tournament of the European season.

Close

Ellie McCarthy in a bunker with Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, and Tommy Fleetwood

Ellie McCarthy in a bunker with Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, and Tommy Fleetwood

Ellie McCarthy in a bunker with Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, and Tommy Fleetwood

The world's finest were on parade and Ellie found herself the inside the ropes.

"I had no idea," she told the Sunday World from her home in the United Arab Emirates.

"There had been a camera crew in the hospital a few weeks earlier and they were doing a piece on the impact of Covid here."

Little did she know she had been put forward as a frontline health worker battling the pandemic.

But as she settled into her chair to take questions on the health crisis she found herself facing Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter.

"You fancy hitting a few balls?" he said.

It was part of a PGA plan to honour health workers who have been on the frontline around the world.

Poulter said: "It's a privilege for me to spend a bit of time with someone like Ellie when she and people like her have spent so much of her time looking after so many other people."

Close

Ellie McCarthy with Ian Poulter

Ellie McCarthy with Ian Poulter

Ellie McCarthy with Ian Poulter

Having been introduced to Europe's number one player Lee Westwood, she teed it up with Poulter only to be joined by former Open champion Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood.

"I only took golf up 18 months ago so I was just concentrating on hitting the ball!

"I have to say they were fantastic, no airs and graces, the banter was brilliant, they just rip each other apart. And they definitely gave me a few tips on my game which is badly needed!"

Ellie, from Carnmoney on the outskirts of north Belfast, has been in Dubai for five years. Attached to King's College Hospital, she admits to having sympathy with her former NHS colleagues back home.

"I checked the BBC NI website and to see 17 ambulances outside Antrim Hospital made me sad," she said.

"I worked in Antrim, at the Royal and Lagan Valley so I have an idea what they are going through and I have to admit that is a part of my life that I don't miss."

Having studied in Edinburgh and worked both there and back home, she got the opportunity of a job in Dubai - the plan was to stay for two years, which stretched into five and is likely to extend beyond that.

Ellie admits life in sun-kissed Dubai is good.

"Tourism is so important to Dubai," she said, "travel restrictions have been lifted and there has been an influx of tourists"

For now she's concentrating on her swing, and looking forward to a belated 40th birthday celebration.

"I'll work on the golf, the birthday celebrations might have to wait for a while."

richard.sullivan@sundayworld.com

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Sunday World


Privacy