There must be a message and, possibly, a lesson for aspiring touring professionals in the fact that none of the top four Irishmen (Dermot McElroy, Michael Hoey, Tom McKibbin and Cameron Raymond) in the European Tour’s Irish Challenge at Portmarnock Links were recipients of a Team Ireland grant this year.
Does the image of a hungry golfer spring to mind, which is the essence of my argument about the Vanishing Irish on the European Tour in this month’s Irish Golfer Magazine (PLUS toughening up the Irish provincial amateur championships?)
Excuses will be made about ‘rules’ but the key rule surely must be to have more OWGR competitions staged here in Ireland jointly with Alps, Nordic, German and/or Euro Pro Tours – to give our players more experience and opportunities as well as shining a light on their performances – both good and bad?
There were several excellent ‘shows’ by Irish golfers at Portmarnock Links. Hardly a surprise because the Irish boys know the course so well and the tournament was played in typically inconsistent Irish weather conditions. James Sugrue, the former British Amateur champion, finished with a 4-under par 67, to win his second cheque in only his third pro outing, reaching No. 79 in the Road to Mallorca rankings already (ahead of Matteo Manassero and other ‘big name’ players).
The winner, Daan Huizing (Netherlands) has long been marked out as a player of ‘big Tour’ quality, which shows how difficult it can be to make your way in the results-driven world of pro golf.