Ivan Morris - No luck for Limerick in Barton Cup

Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris
There was no joy for Limerick Golf Club in the All-Ireland final of the JB Carr Trophy tournament played at Woodenbridge GC.

There was no joy for Limerick Golf Club in the All-Ireland final of the JB Carr Trophy tournament played at Woodenbridge GC.

Having decisively beaten Castle Hume from Fermanagh in the semi-final, Enniscrone from County Sligo turned out to be too hot to handle in the final.

Although the games were close, Enniscrone’s top pairings got stronger as the matches entered the back nine and they did not miss a step, resulting in the Sligo team winning the first three matches by 3/2.

There is some consolation in reaching an Irish final after a long campaign that began in April, which featured some tight matches and excellent golf.

Limerick had a huge band of proud, supporters in attendance and they fully played their parts too! High praise must go to Woodenbridge for their excellent organization and hospitality.

Limerick Men At Tour School Must Face An Unprecedented American Invasion. The prospects of the 31, ever-hopeful, Irishmen including two aspirants from Limerick, Cian McNamara and Tim Rice, is bound to be hindered by an 86-strong American Invasion at European Tour School, which will be held at various locations over the next couple of weeks.

Tim Rice enters the fray at Hardelot in France and Cian McNamara travels to Fleesensee in Germany.

The larger than usual American entry is clearly a fall-out caused by the ending of USPGA Tour School in America.

Will it be a gain for Europe or a loss for the USA?

It all depends on how individuals fare and look at it, I suppose? But, it does show how increasingly competitive professional golf has become.

The rewards are so great it is understandable but the risk of failure is much greater too.

The hardest, cruellest fact of all is that it is by no means an inexpensive exercise if you fail.

The entry fee alone is €1650 – not to mention the cost of travel and subsistence. Back at Tour School for the 12th time is Glasson’s Colm Moriarty.

I had to check that twice to be sure I wasn’t imagining! I doubt if he will thank me for pointing out that his twelve ‘goes’ at Tour School must have cost him a minimum of €50,000, by now!

To win your playing rights on the European Tour next year means that from almost 1000 entries, you must finish in the top-25.

I seriously doubt that any Americans would take on the expense of crossing the Atlantic, staying in Europe for up to eight-weeks or, crossing back and forth twice if they manage to survive the first of three dog-eat-dog tournaments with no prize money worth mentioning – if they didn’t seriously fancy their chances.

The entry from Ireland this year includes, Waterford Castle’s Kevin Phelan and South of Ireland champion, Simon Ward, Dermot McElroy from Ballymena who won all of his matches for Ireland in the Home Internationals, Mourne’s impressive Reeve Whitson who won the Spanish Amateur in fine style at La Manga in March, Headfort’s Brian Casey and Claremorris golfer, Stephen Healy. Mark Staunton, David Rawluk and Mark Murphy will join 2011 Walker Cup teammates, Alan Dunbar and Paul Cutler.

After two-years on the outside looking in, the former European Tour regular, Gary Murphy from Kilkenny, has had a change of mind and reversed his retirement plans.

Murphy, who was making a good fist of TV commentating, must have found his TV job to be no substitute for the excitement of walking a tightrope without a safety net.

As I wrote recently, I do not understand the attitude of the GUI in encouraging and sponsoring so many star-struck, teenage wannabees throughout their amateur careers, only for the vast majority of them to end up as golfing discards with no prospects.

Unless someone is exceptionally talented, dedicated and relentlessly ambitious and has played in a minimum of two Walker Cup matches, I would strongly discourage them from even thinking about turning pro.

Still, not wishing to trample too heavily on other peoples’ dreams – if somebody is mad enough to set their heart on making it in the pro game that’s their choice and they will do it anyway, no matter what I say and good luck to them.

Even when you do make it, the pro golf rankings can be like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders – you can ascend and descend very quickly. Henrik Stenson and Padraig Harrington are perfect, recent examples of the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Stenson is soaring to the very top as Harrington goes sliding down so fast that he will lose most of his playing privileges in the USA next year and we will be seeing more of him on European soil.

I just hope that Padraig doesn’t have to fall as low as Stenson did before re-finding his game.

Rory McIlroy, too, is on the slide and it will gradually pick up speed as he sheds ranking points won in his stunning 2012 season.