World No. 1 Rory McIlroy has welcomed Ireland’s trio of new members into the ranks of the DP World Tour.
The threesome – Holywood’s Tom McKibbin, Kinsale’s John Murphy and West Waterford’s Gary Hurley – are now full-time members of the Tour.
McKibbin secured his place finishing among the leading 15 on the secondary Challenge Tour while Murphy and Hurley won through last week to be among the top 25 players following the torturous six-round Q-School final in Spain.
McKibbin and Murphy have wasted little time jumping into the deep end, teeing-up in this week’s co-sanctioned Joburg Open in South Africa.
The soon-to-be 20-year-old McKibbin, who has contested nine DP World Tour events by way of invitations since 2018, hails from the same club as his boyhood hero, with McIlroy delighted for this fellow Holywood member.
Murphy has been afforded six DP World Tour invitations thus far and endeared himself to fans with his excitement in sharing 10th a year ago at the Dunhill Links Championship, and in the process earning a cool Euro 82,000 for this efforts at the Home of Golf.
“I don’t know John or Gary all that well but then I do know Tom, so it’s always good to have a couple more Irish players on the DP World Tour,” said McIlroy.
“I’ve followed Tom’s career for a few years now, and I also know him well, so I was delighted for him, as I was for John and Gary earning their full Tour cards.
“It’s a great achievement and given the paths they each had to take to get themselves onto the Tour.
“In saying that, I also wish the likes of Johnnie Caldwell, Cormac (Sharvin) and Paul (Dunne), and also Niall (Kearney) well in also re-gaining their Tour cards and hope they have good seasons.
“It’s such a competitive game out here, as they each will know, and you have to keep it at a certain level to play on the main tour.
“So yeah, looking forward to catching-up with the boys early next year in Dubai and maybe playing a practice round.”
JOBURG OPEN – IRISH TEE TIMES (Irish time)
Tom McKibbin – 5.20am
John Murphy – 11am