In 2011 at Royal St George's the Northern Irishman fulfilled his boyhood dream of becoming Champion Golfer of the Year.
At 42 became the oldest player to lift the Claret Jug since Roberto de Vicenzo in 1967 when, in his 20th appearance, he defeated Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson by three strokes at Sandwich in 2011.
It followed US Open victories by his fellow Northern Irishmen Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy and was five years on from a remarkable unbeaten display in a Ryder Cup match played at The K Club in Ireland just six weeks after his first wife Heather died of breast cancer.
Had previously finished joint runner-up to Justin Leonard at Royal Troon in 1997 and tied third when David Duval won at Royal Lytham and St Annes four years later.
Distinguished career, rewarded in 2012 with an OBE, also includes two World Golf Championship wins, the 2000 Andersen-Consulting Match Play seeing him beat Tiger Woods in the final, top 10 finishes in each of the other three major championships and 14 victories on the European Tour, where he is the only player to have had two rounds of 60.
After five Ryder Cup caps as a player, four of them wins, he twice served as an assistant captain before leading Europe at Hazeltine in 2016.