James Sugrue said he would love an Irish Open invite after he was left to reflect on a sharp learning curve amongst the game’s best at the US Open at Winged Foot.
Last year’s Amateur Champion carded rounds of 78 and 79 for a 17-over par tally, admitting that a lack of tournament golf and a struggle for form culminated in his challenge ending before the weekend in New York.
“I suppose I just did not play well,” Sugrue reflected. “Even kind of leading up to this, I wasn’t playing my best. I was here ten days before the tournament started, and I just wasn’t really firing.
“Out here, like there’s very little managing for error. Off the tee, which would usually be my strongest point, I just didn’t really know where the ball was going. So, yeah, it’s always going to be tough, especially out here with rough like that and narrow fairways. When you don’t know where the ball is going, it’s going to be an uphill battle.”
Sugrue had put a new Titleist driver in the bag prior to day one, hoping it would prove a good omen as the last time he gamed a new driver, it was the week prior to The Amateur at Portmarnock in 2019 where he triumphed on the final day in front of a 3,000 strong home crowd.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be this week in Long Island but the Mallow man will no doubt learn plenty for the experience and hopes to have another crack at professional opposition now upon his return to Ireland given next week’s Irish Open at Galgorm still has places that need filling.
“I’ve never played it,” Sugrue said. “Last year it was at Lahinch, which would be pretty close to my house and one of my favourite courses, and I couldn’t play because, A, I think it was a Rolex event last year, and also because we had European Team championships, so I couldn’t play.
“But, yeah, I would love to — it would be great to get a start in the Irish Open. That would be brilliant. I would definitely take up on that offer if it was possible.”
Up until now, no word has reached the Cork man around his prospects of lining out, something that has surprised him given The Memorial, the US Open and the Masters had already deemed his presence worthy of admission this year.
“I thought that I had done enough to warrant an invitation,” he confessed. “Obviously, it’s not my decision. I don’t know whose decision it is or who hands out invitations, but, yeah, I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. If I’m in, I’m in. If I’m not, I’m not. It’s not the end of the world.
“It would be a pretty quick turnaround coming home from here. I’m not too sure what the story is with me coming home and quarantine and stuff like that. It’s in the North of Ireland this year, so they have different rules to the Republic, so it’s all a little bit messy. If the opportunity came up, I’d definitely play.”