Royal Dublin amateur Max Kennedy is eager to take the opportunity that has been presented to him this week and fast track his progression into the professional ranks by earning a spot on LIV Golf next year.
Kennedy is one of two Irish amateurs in the inaugural $1.5 million LIV Golf Promotions field in Abu Dhabi Golf Club this week as he and Ryan Griffin (Rosapenna) eye up one of the three promotion spots and a $200,000 payday.
Both players are still in college in Louisville and Maynooth University respectively but are exempt into the 72-hole qualifying event after playing the Arnold Palmer Cup earlier this year and it’s an opportunity neither feel they could pass up.
“If there’s an opportunity that arises, I’m going to take it,” Kennedy said at a pre-tournament press conference. “As golfers we only get very few opportunities when we go from amateur to pro, and you’re going to take everything you get once you have the opportunity, so this is another great week and another great opportunity to move on to the professional ranks.”
The 21-year-old who picked up his maiden collegiate title at the Aggie Invitational this year had been targeting a PGA Tour card through the PGA Tour University rankings in America but has since had his head turned.
Kennedy was full of praise for LIV Golf and feels the format adds a refreshing alternative to the standard 72-hole events on the mainstream tours.
“LIV Golf seems to be a very exciting new thing that’s happened in the game of golf, and this is my first obviously time being in a LIV Tour kind of event, and it seems like a very exciting way to play the game of golf.
“I feel like golf in the past has been a little boring, so lightening that up and letting the players go and seeing what they do is a good way to play golf, and I’m all for that.
“Being here this week, I’m very excited for the challenge that’s ahead. I think it’s a great format, and I’m looking forward to the challenge this week of competing and trying to get on to a very good tour.”
Kilkenny star Mark Power – one of four Irish Walker Cup players who turned down their exemptions into this week – played with Cameron Smith at the Australian Open last weekend and Kennedy would love to rub shoulders with such elite company on a regular basis.
“Yeah, there’s obviously a lot of big names in LIV Golf. You talk about Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, all of these guys have done great things in the game of golf, and to follow in their footsteps and do something just like they do would be phenomenal.”
As for the format of 18 holes, reset, 18 holes reset, and a 36-hole shootout, Kennedy feels his experience of college golf Stateside will help him adapt to this week’s challenge.
“I’m looking forward to the format. I think it’s a very good test of your resilience and how you play out there. You’ve got to play well all the time. There’s not a lot of room for mistakes.
“But for the 36-hole day, I’m in college and we play 36-hole events well, 54, but 36-18 a lot, so we’re kind of used to that 36-hole day feeling. I think that could help a lot going into the last day.”