As one of Ireland's top courses, Ballybunion Golf Club is used to hosting some of the biggest names in golf. So when club officials received a call from a man purporting to be Mark O'Meara's agent, they never had an inkling that anything was wrong.
As the Independent in Ireland reported, the man on the other end of the phone told the club that he was trying to set up a round of golf for O'Meara and Rory McIlroy, who were going to be in Dublin for the Heineken Cup semi-final rugby match between Ulster and Edinburgh.
Word traveled fast that McIlroy was going to be at the course, and within hours Ballybunion was scrambling to get everything in order for the two-time major winner, and the current No. 1-ranked player in golf.
Saturday rolled around and everything was in place for O'Meara and McIlroy's arrival. But there was just one problem: The entire phone conversation was part of an elaborate hoax that left course officials feeling silly, and young fans let down.
Well used to VIP visitors, Ballybunion saw nothing amiss and swept into action with their preparations. Extra catering arrangements were made, caddies took precise measurements to ensure their yardages were spot on, and the Old Course was in pristine condition for Rory and his entourage.
Except they never showed -- much to the disappointment of up to 100 young fans, club members and local media who had gathered from 7.30am. Most waited patiently until 11.30 when it became clear that McIlroy was a non-runner.
Oops. McIlroy wasn't playing that week, so the story most likely seemed believable at first. Unfortunately, it turned out that all their setup work was for naught. Ballybunion was one of four clubs in Ireland stung by the hoax. (Lahinch, Doonbeg and the Adare Manor resort were the other three involved.)
What can we learn from this story? That Caller ID still has a place in the world. Someone should really consider giving it to Ballybunion as a Christmas gift this year.