6 C
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Future of Irish PGA Tour participation at a crossroads

Must Read

I Dreamed a Dream*

'It feels as if we have forsaken this beautiful game. We haven’t. We’ve just been biding our time under a swell of anger. Who among us has not practised a swing with nothing in our empty hands but hope?'

High time golf made a comeback

'My hope is that we’ll be playing golf again next week, and that those funnelling into green spaces with nowhere else to go will be given a few more options'

An Ode to Dustin Johnson

'Certain factions of the media take great pleasure in the portrayal of Dustin – and brother and caddie Austin on occasion – as being a little dim witted at best, and downright dumb at worst. This is a particular pet hate'

So Rory, where did it all go wrong?

Net worth of over $100million, four Majors, fourth best golfer in the world and on his Christmas holidays in mid-November, all at 31 years young. Still, no green jacket

The future of Irish participation on the PGA Tour has come to a crossroads at this week’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For a first time in near on a decade, Ireland is staring at the possibility of having just one player, Rory McIlroy, with full exempt status on next year’s 2018/19 Tour.

The regular 2017/18 Tour ends at this week’s in the $6m (Euro 5.3m) event being played on the Sedgefield Country Club course with the leading 125 on the FedEx Cup standings retaining full membership.

Four Irish – Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Seamus Power are each looking not only to win, but to ensure their place on next year’s new-look Tour.

Harrington has played just 15 Tour events this year and is lying 220th on the standings but unlike his three Irish compatriots the now 46-year old will be able to draw next year on a one-off ‘All-time money list’ category in remaining a member of the Tour.

McDowell’s exemption in capturing the 2016 Mayakoba Classic ends this week and at 143rd on the money list, the 38-year old has to secure a top-10 effort in an event he played for the first-time last year and missed the cut, to retain full membership.

‘G Mac’ has earned $US 16m in his now 204 Tour events since his debut at the 2001 Shell Houston Open but with none near as important to his career as this week’s event.

“I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself and I feel like it’s not a do-or-die scenario for me,” he said last fortnight at the Barracuda Championship.

“I feel like if I was 25-years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario.”

“Certainly, trying to put the pressure off, if I don’t get myself into the top-125 it’s not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season.”

Indeed, McDowell should be assured of 10-12 PGA Tour events but they will not be all of his choosing while he could play more in Europe given he has contested seven tournaments this year, with a best of fifth at the Italian Open.

Lowry tees-up in Greensboro in his last event of a three-year Tour exemption in capturing the 2015 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational but is clearly buoyed by his strong showing in last week’s PGA Championship.

He also has brother, Alan on the bag for a fourth and last time, with the duo looking to make it four cuts in succession.

Lowry is currently 139th on the FedEx Cup standings and a repeat of last year’s stirring seventh place finish would seal his place not only in next week’s Northern Trust, the first of the Fed-Ex Cup Play-Offs, but his spot on the ‘18/’19 Tour.

Power is the only one among the four currently inside the top-125 who will retain full membership, but at 123rd on the FedEx Cup points standing the West Waterford golfer’s primary goal is to simply make the cut.

Bizarrely, it is the second year in succession Power will tee-up in the Wyndham lying 123rd on the money list.

This year, Power has contested 26 events after winning back full Tour membership by just $287 in securing the 25th and last place back onto the Tour late last year in the secondary Web.com Tour Championship.

However, it has not helped Power that of the events he’s contested he has missed the cut in 11, including an early-season stretch of four in succession.

But unlike last year, Power will not want to be cut after three rounds and needs what will be a third top-10 to hold onto his card.

“I actually feel pretty good and you know in the back of your mind what is at stake and all that stuff but this is a 72-hole tournament and if you start thinking about that stuff you could be exhausted come Sunday,” he said.

“So, it’s there and you know you have to play well but it was of those things you cannot control and all you can do is play as well as you can”.

IRISH TEE TIMES: (Irish time)

12.30pm – Shane Lowry
12.40pm – Graeme McDowell
5.20pm – Seamus Power
5.50pm – Padraig Harrington

New Gear

Add laser vision to your game with Motocaddy’s PRO 3000

“By any standards, the PRO 3000 Laser is a match for any rangefinder on the market, offering pin-point accuracy in distance measurements at a really attractive price point"

FootJoy launch its new Stratos shoe featuring unbeatable comfort on and off the course

Featuring an unparalleled, ultra-cushioned underfoot ride, great traction and super soft leather uppers, FJ Stratos is innovative footwear that is specifically tuned for golf and comfort.

Wilson launch two new Tour staff model golf balls

New premium Urethane Tour balls offer distance, exceptional spin & aerodynamic consistency

FootJoy bringing the gold standard with limited edition Pro|SL

To celebrate FJ’s continued market success with Pro|SL this season, the brand have released an all-new, limited-edition FJ Pro|SL Gold


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Sullivan enjoying his golf again after 61 in Dubai

"Covid really changed everything for me. I refocused and started enjoying it again. I’ve started to play a lot better. Going out there and enjoying it I know I’m giving myself the best chance to shoot a low score"

Golfers aiming for place in SA Open history

Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell and Ardglass professional Cormac Sharvin are in the field for their third and final event of the South African swing

McIlroy backs European and PGA Tour alliance

"If this alliance can be done in the right way, I think it provides a better pathway for Europeans to get on the PGA Tour. I can’t see any negatives with it"

Porsche extends title sponsorship of Porsche European Open to 2023

Sportscar manufacturer Porsche has reaffirmed its commitment to world-class golf with a three-year extension of the title sponsorship of the Porsche European Open, with Paul Casey set to defend his title next year

Kearney solid as Sullivan sets stiff pace at Golf in Dubai Championship

Niall Kearney eased himself into the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship with a one-under 71 but finds himself trailing Andy Sullivan by 10 shots after the Englishman signed for a sparkling opening 61