PaddyPro Tour is a beacon of hope for Ireland’s touring pros

Carla Reynolds
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PaddyPro Tour is a beacon of hope for Ireland’s touring pros

Gavin Moynihan (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The future of journeymen Professionals in Ireland took another hit earlier this week as the PGA Europro Tour announced it was cancelling its 2020 season due to the coronavirus outbreak. One of the many satellite tours, the PGA EuroPro Tour would see anywhere from 8 to 10 Professionals from Ireland competing each week in recent years.

The news was expected in some form, as the Alps and MENA Tours already halted play, but it was likely thought that a portion of the eight-month schedule would be cancelled, not the whole show.

The list of professional golf events to tumble is growing by the day. The European Tour announced on Thursday the decision to cancel the 2020 GolfSixes and Made in Denmark tournaments, bringing the hiatus up to the week of the scheduled DDF Irish Open from May 28 – 31.

For the players involved in the top ranks, the Rory McIlroys and Shane Lowrys of this world, a long break is nothing but a nuisance. Granted, the ecosystem of caddies, physiotherapists, managers and event staff are affected on a deeper level but it is the players who are earning their trade on the satellite tours who are hardest hit by our current circumstances.

A ‘normal’ schedule sees players travel week in, week out, throughout the UK, Europe and further afield in the hope of ‘breaking through’ to the big leagues. The prize funds are not to be sniffed at but are lightyears away from the millions on offer in a Rolex Tour or FedEx Cup event, for example.

Nonetheless, rather than sit waiting for the storm to pass, a good news story has emerged in the form of the ‘PaddyPro Tour’. Despite the disappointment and uncertainty, a group of players have decided to take matters into their own hands, creating a home based Tour to keep their games sharp.

The idea was formulated by Simon Bryan, who is attached to Druids Heath and who planned to play on the Alps Tour this year.

“It was no real shock to me at all that PGA EuroPro was cancelled,” Bryan began. “When it started hitting the Challenge Tour, European Tour and then the PGA Tour it was just like everyone was on shutdown.

“The idea for the PaddyPro Tour was something I was considering for a while. There are enough of us playing professionals around, now stuck at home, that if we all put €100 or €150 into a pot, we would have something to play for.”

The entry fee per person wouldn’t differ greatly from the usual fee for a professional event but depending on courtesy of golf clubs around Ireland is a key factor in the success of the PaddyPro Tour over the next number of weeks and, potentially, months.

“We are going to try to use golf clubs that we’re attached to and have courtesy on, generally Ireland is very good for that and we appreciate it greatly.”

The first event of the PaddyTour schedule took place on Thursday March 19 at Corballis where European Tour player Gavin Moynihan took the spoils with a 4-under-par 62, two shots clear of fellow tour-mate Cormac Sharvin. The list of professionals to have committed include newly turned Professional Conor Purcell, Jonathan Caldwell and Robin Dawson.

“I knew as soon as Gavin and Cormac got involved that it would snowball because they would have more pull,” remarked Bryan. “The idea really is just to keep us playing and bring some money in.”

As sports clubs, bars, restaurants and companies close their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, golf remains open and it is important to Bryan that the PaddyPro Tour players adhere to government recommendations.

“We’re playing with the guidelines in mind. Leaving the flags in, not touching the rakes and keeping a good distance from each other because we’re hoping that we will be able to keep going as long we can. We’re responsible for it ourselves.”

The Tour heads to Carton House on Monday 23 March where up to twenty players will take on the Montgomerie Course and the top 30% will get paid.

“We’ve set up an Instagram and Twitter account so we’ll keep those up to date with videos and results to give people something to follow. We’ll do our best to share as much as possible and, if it grows, we may be able to do more,” he concludes.

It’s times like this that we need to think outside the box with the cards we’re dealt. It’s clear that our professional golfers are definitely showcasing their creativity.

We look forward to having some golf to follow.

 

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One response to “PaddyPro Tour is a beacon of hope for Ireland’s touring pros”

  1. Ivan Morris avatar

    Well done, lads! I hope it works out and keeps you all sharp and ready for when the Pandemic is defeated.

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