Kinsale’s John Murphy tees up for his second PGA Tour start at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson happy with his lot despite whispers of ongoing uncertainty filtering through golf’s professional ranks of late.
Murphy earned himself a special exemption into the event upon winning the Byron Nelson award at Louisville University in 2020 and he actually arrived as an amateur to prepare for the tournament at TPC Craig Range 12 months ago before being made aware that he could delay his start by another year to take full advantage as a pro.
With 9.1 million reasons to hold off, Murphy abstained as an amateur, but despite that economically-fuelled decision, money has never been a motivating factor for Murphy who entered his first full season as a pro this year with full status on the Challenge Tour.
Having tasted the limelight at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where he enjoyed a top-10 finish at the Home of Golf last year, as well as another week rubbing shoulders with the stars last February on his PGA Tour debut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Murphy has caught a glimpse of the possible riches on offer should he succeed on golf’s existing tours, and although much talk lately revolves around obscene money and rival leagues, Murphy insists he’s happy where he is.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Murphy said on a call set-up by one of his sponsors Arachas Insurance when asked for his take on LIV Golf and the future of the tours.
“It hasn’t even come into the question for me. I’m very content where I am. My Manager Emma O’Driscoll with JMC Sport has been phenomenal in terms of getting me the invites I’ve had. I’ve had the opportunity to play across three different tours since I’ve turned professional.
“It’s not even something that I’ve considered. I don’t know where things will go or how that tour will work out but obviously the money you’re playing for on the PGA Tour is phenomenal – $9.1 million this week – but at the same time, I’m trying not to think about the money side of things right now.
“I’ve got some great sponsors, some great Irish sponsors too, so to have that financial backing and that moral support to go with it is incredible.”
Murphy collected a career-best cheque so far worth €81,543.12 with his ninth place finish at the Dunhill and if support elsewhere was lacking, such weeks go a long way towards ensuring the profit and loss balance sheet stays the right side of par for many months to come. However, as he gratefully points out, support has arrived at Murphy’s door in abundance, just reward for a bright start to his pro career and a reflection of exactly how investible the former Walker Cup star’s future has become.
“I’m not really thinking about the money right now. I’m thinking about points,” Murphy said.
“Thankfully I don’t have to make a good pay cheque this week to move into next week because I know a lot of people are in that position, in professional golf you can really get stuck in the mud. Thankfully I’m very comfortable with where I am right now so I think all I have to do is try to get better, try work my way up as much as I can.
“But I’ve no intention of playing anywhere else. The Challenge Tour has been great in terms of giving me invites and giving me the opportunity to play in my first year as a professional so I’m just going to try work my way up from there.”
One event the proud Cork man would dearly love to be part of is this summer’s Horizon Irish Open at Mount Juliet. Murphy has never played in an Irish Open but with a $6m purse and valuable rankings points to go with it, he makes no secret of his hope to be in Kilkenny in June, though Murphy admits that any thoughts of earning an invite lie with his management team and not him.
“If I did all that stuff, I’d drive myself insane,” Murphy said.
“I’ve never played in an Irish Open, so it would be great to get that opportunity. But we’ll just have to take care of business on the golf course, and the rest will look after itself.
“Obviously I’d love to play in the Irish Open but I have to keep my core goals in sight and I think that if I can just finish as high up on the Challenge Tour as possible this year, then that will give me the opportunity to play as much European Tour golf as I want.”
Tee Times – (Irish)
- Seamus Power – 1.45pm
- John Murphy – 3.02pm
- Full tee-times HERE