Gary Hurley has put in an enormous effort on his mental approach to golf over the last three years and he couldn’t hide his delight after he stood up to the truest test and passed to earn his DP World Tour Card.
The journey to this point has been a turbulent one to put it lightly for the West Waterford native. From the highs of Ireland’s famed ‘Famous Five’ from the 2015 GB&I Walker Cup team to the lows of 2019 where he contemplated giving up the game.
Six rounds of 70, 65, 70, 65, 70 and 69 saw him cruise towards his full playing rights on the DP World Tour, qualifying in 13th place. A scenario he could not have imagined at the beginning of the year.
“It will be cool to play on the DP World Tour, the work I’m doing is not really about that, the occasion just fades away it doesn’t matter where you are playing or what you are playing for, who you are playing with it’s just you vs you and that’s what I have been doing all year,” said Hurley who was struggling to hold back the tears as the realisation of what he had achieved dawned on him.
“It’s been tough the last couple of weeks with a bit more noise and that was the truest test and I said it the other day it would be the truest test of my work.
“I’m proud, really excited I’m going to take some time off to decompress after a really long year, not just this week, the whole year to be honest.”
The 29-year-old had to convince people to sponsor him last year as he bid to get a career which promised so much, back on track after a shift in mentality under Dr. Ed Coughlan.
Entering 2022 with no status, Hurley headed for the Alps Tour, rejuvenated and with a new sense of belief and purpose that he could put his tumultuous few years behind him.
The signs were there early on, four top seven finishes between February and June gave Hurley a sense of consistency that he never really had before he won for the first time as a professional at the Alps de Andalucia.
That win kickstarted a terrific run of form where he finished in the top-5 on the Order of Merit to earn a Challenge Tour card for next season.
A fifth-place finish in the Irish Challenge at the end of July gave an indication that the Munsterman could compete at Challenge Tour level but he has remarkably leapfrogged Europe’s second-tier to join the big time on the DP World Tour in what is huge vindication for the work he has put in.
“This time last year I had nothing. No sponsors, nothing and managed to convince some guys to help me out over the winter and that this was going somewhere,” explained Hurley. I Knew the work I was putting in was going to mean something and I’m so thankful for them for believing in me and what I was telling them. Now I have a lot of evidence with my results and I’m absolutely delighted, just delighted.”
Hurley has become one of the great thinkers of the game. He is extremely process driven and has credited a change in behaviour and an acceptance of things if they don’t go his way as pivotal to his newfound form.
This has been a team effort between himself, Dr Coughlan, his girlfriend Emily-Rose and his entire family and with his best years undoubtedly ahead of him, the hard work won’t stop as he looks to make up for lost time.
“I’ll celebrate for a little while but the work will still continue, regardless of this week the work would continue that was clear between me and my coaching team we were on the same page over what this is.
“It’s bigger than Q-School and you would know that if you knew where I’ve come from you’d believe it too!
“My family have been really supportive to be honest, my girlfriend has through times you wouldn’t even believe to be honest, where I was at one point with my life. They’ll be delighted I can’t wait to speak to them, talk to them, share this with them.”
It turns out it was just between the two ears for Hurley…