“We come together for JP and for him only.”
The words of 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods who will lead a star-studded line-up for the sixth renewal of the celebrated JP McManus Pro-Am.
The event first teed off over 30 years ago at Limerick Golf Club, raising funds for local charities in the Mid-West region of Ireland. From the outset, the Pro-Am attracted the support of star quality with home grown talent like Philip Walton, Christy O’Connor Jnr, Des Smyth and Eamonn Darcy joined by European Tour stalwarts such as Gordon Brand Jnr and Richard Boxall.
With 42 teams competing, each consisting of one professional and three amateurs, the event raised an incredible €1.2 million for local charities and it’s only gone from strength to strength ever since.
The Pro-Am returned in 1995 bolstered by the European Tour. More big names from the Continent soon got involved, as well as star power from across the Atlantic, though it was Englishmen Paul Broadhurst and Richard Boxall who shared the trophy.
Young guns Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Paul McGinley all teed up in ‘95 and as spectator interest increased, so too did the funds raised, with €4 million collected.
In 2000, the upward trajectory continued. The then World Number One, Tiger Woods was in town. Limerick Golf Club welcomed 15,000 guests through its gates, and sure enough, Woods came up trumps against a stacked field that included David Duval and Mark O’Meara to claim the title.
It would prove one of many that year for Woods; the 25-year old winning three of four Majors before completing the ‘Tiger Slam’ at the Masters in 2001. But it wasn’t just Woods’ star on the rise. In 2000, JP’s Pro-Am raised a whopping €19.8 million, and there was still much more to come.
2005 heralded the Pro-Am’s arrival to Adare Manor. Tiger returned, and with him, the likes of Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie. 8,600 people played in pre-qualifying events around Ireland hoping to join them and 12 charity teams were successful. Padraig Harrington had Irish eyes smiling when he captured the trophy while over €31 million was awarded to 56 charities in the Mid-West region.
The profile of the event continued to sky-rocket five years later when the ever-present Woods was joined by Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy in 2010. From the Holywood prodigy to Hollywood A-listers in Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the event surpassed all that came before it with 40,000 visitors piling through the gates each day on the championship course.
Although Darren Clarke walked away with the trophy, charity was the real winner with over €43 million raised in a remarkable effort for the likes of The Alzheimer Society, Down Syndrome Ireland, Parkinsons Ireland and St Joseph’s Foundation who continue to reap the benefits from their involvement with the Pro-Am.
“St. Joseph’s Foundation has been beneficiaries of the JP McManus Pro-Am since its inception in 1990,” says St Joseph’s CEO Noreen Ryan.
“This involvement has seen the development of a Hydro-Therapy Pool, Liskennett Equine Centre/Sensory Gardens and Residential/Respite houses. On behalf of everybody in St. Joseph’s Foundation, I wish to convey our sincere thanks to the JP McManus Team for once again including the Foundation as a participant in the Pro-Am 2022.”
Over €140 million has been raised for charitable organisations since the first Pro-Am tee-shot was struck in 1990, with the 2022 staging shaping up to be the biggest yet.
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