Ask and you shall receive, at least if you’re last year’s Amateur Champion James Sugrue who has earned a welcomed invite to next week’s Irish Open at Galgorm Castle.
The Mallow man, who missed the halfway cut on debut at the US Open, confessed he would love an invite to contest his national open for the very first time but as of Friday, Sugrue hadn’t heard a thing from tournament organisers.
“I’ve never played it,” Sugrue said when asked after his round on Friday at Winged Foot.
“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 then, no word had reached the Cork man around his prospects of lining out, something that 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.”
The opportunity has now arisen, however, and credit must also go to Sugrue’s playing partner over the first two days in New York – Lee Westwood.
The former world number one couldn’t quite understand why last year’s Champion in Portmarnock’s name wasn’t already on the starting grid for Galgorm:
“He’s the British amateur champion from Ireland, and he’s not got an invite to the Irish Open… Little bit shocked at that. Maybe there should be a late one in there.”
Ask and you shall receive, Lee.