by Bernie McGuire, St. Andrews
For a second occsaion in two years John Murphy returns to the Home of Golf inspired by a Ryder Cup.
Murphy sounded energised after spending early last Friday morning to Sunday evening glued to a television cheering on Luke Donald’s Roman golfing gladiators, including Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, as they took down their American rivals.
And why wouldn’t the Kinsale golfer be soaking in the scenes of last Sunday afternoon, as we all were, as Europe muscled their way to a deserved five-point triumph in the Italian capital?
“It’s been amazing and it’s motivation for every Irish golfer in witnessing what the Europeans in Rome achieved”, said Murphy before heading off from St. Andrews to nearby Kingsbarns for a practice round ahead of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“Of course, it would be great to have a few more Irish out there with them and it’s certainly not unobtainable to see eventually a few players come through from the Walker Cup ranks.
“There are other Irish players like Seamus (Power) who went awfully close to selection while Tom’s (McKibbin) also had a great year getting a first win.
“Scotland’s Rob MacIntyre was only playing Walker Cup back in 2017 and we’ve seen him burst onto the scene, and after a great season he goes to Rome and secures two and a half out of three points, which is just fantastic”.
It was two years ago at the Home of Golf where Murphy had one of his own best moments in golf, putting out on the famed Old Course final green to secure a super share of ninth place in the Dunhill Links, in only a third appearance on the DP World Tour.
Murphy delighted a big Irish following that Sunday by wrapping the Irish flag around him to celebrate the achievement, an effort that earned the rookie pro a whopping Euro 81,500 prize cheque.
At year’s end Murphy headed for the secondary Challenge Tour in 2022 and then gallantly earned his DP World Tour card for this 2023 season, however it’s not been all plain sailing for the affable Irishman contesting 21 DP World Tour events but sadly making the halfway cut in just three, and trailing just outside the top-200 on the Race to Dubai money-list.
Though we all know the ancient club-and-ball game is such a fickle sport, and who’s to say what watching three days of the players who you can tee-up beside nearly every other week battle in out and win in Rome, can do for you?
“It’s an inspiration for all of us competing to not only be inspired by Rory and Shane but by the entire European side along with what Leona (Maguire) and her European Solheim Cup side managed to do in Spain”, said Murphy.
“And seeing both teams take down the Americans was pretty sweet (smiling)”.
“Though it’s great being back here at St. Andrews as I remember two years ago sitting up to late on Sunday watching the Ryder Cup from Whistling Straits on TV and despite the result, it was still pretty motivating.
“The Dunhill Links like this week was the tournament that was straight after the Ryder Cup two years ago and I remember thinking then, as I also think again this week, that playing Ryder Cup is where you want to be at.
“I guess it is what dreams are made of and it would be nice to achieve what I managed two years ago.
“I just enjoy coming to St. Andrews and it’s just so nice to be back this week”.