Sugrue’s bitter Memorial blow

Bernie McGuire

Amateur Champion James Sugrue (Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)

First it was the Georgia Cup. Then the postponed Masters tournament and now for reigning Amateur Champion, James Sugrue he has had to rule out contesting next fortnight’s Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial.

Sugrue will still get to play the postponed Masters later this year but a delay in being advised of his U.S. visa has meant the Mallow golfer has now had to remain at home in Ireland and will miss out on a PGA Tour debut.

The 23-year old, in a story by good friend and colleague, Simon Lewis, did not know of his U.S. visa being approved until late last Friday, the day before his intended flight to the U.S.


Sugrue was leaving on Saturday so that he could then go into a mandatory two-week ‘self-isolation’ period and now for a mixture of reasons, not least the recent upsurge in virus cases found across the Atlantic, he’s missed out on joining the likes of World No.1 Rory McIlroy teeing-up in ‘Jack’s event’.

“I was supposed to be heading to the Memorial this Saturday just gone,” he said to Simon and the Irish Examiner.

“I was due to leave Saturday morning to start the 14 days of quarantine but it all got a bit messy for a number of reasons, not least my visa didn’t come until Friday night.

“This is the hand we’ve been dealt, unfortunately. The old cliché is ‘control the controllables’ and we have no control over the coronavirus. So, there’s no point in getting down about it, it’s happened, no-one was expecting it, and this is a worldwide issue, not just a James Sugrue thing. There are a lot more important things going on at the moment than golf.

“And the last thing I’d want is to go over to America and bring something home for family members to catch.”

Sugrue had been afforded an invitation into the Memorial ahead of teeing-up in the U.S. Open but that was before the Coronavirus hit.

The Memorial was pushed back to July 16-19, taking the place of the 149th Open Championship while the U.S. Open, originally set down for June 18th to 21st, is now set to take place from 17th to 20th September.

“It now means my next tournament is scheduled for August at the U.S. Amateur Championship, so it’s almost a write-off of a summer,” said Sugrue.

“There’s not a lot of tournament golf on the horizon for me. I’m practicing and playing as normal, I suppose, since the courses re-opened, just minus the important ingredient of tournament golf.”

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