x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Taking the risk to make it big as an amateur in golf

Amateurs are having to be willing to take a risk if they want to make it as a golf professional

A risk worth taking for the next step forward

Rory McIlroy was only 17 when he became a professional golfer.

He had just been part of a Britain and Ireland Walker Cup amateur team, who had narrowly lost to the Americans by a single point, when entered his first tournament as a professional, the Dubai Desert Classic. That was less than four years ago and we all know what happened next.

But for every Rory McIlroy, there are many more tales of amateurs who struggle to make a living and come to regret making the big move too soon. But it is impossible to know when is too soon without the benefit of hindsight.

And this is now a dilemma for those young men who took part in last week's Walker Cup in Scotland, which Britain and Ireland surprisingly won.

Harris English, 22, of America, has made the jump and will join the Nationwide Tour sometime this month.

While from the UK Tom Lewis, 20, who led the British Open after the first round, has given himself seven events to get his card or face the gruelling test of Qualifying School.

Both are outstanding talents. Indeed, English won a Nationwide Tournament, the Children's Hospital Invitational in Upper Arlington, Ohio, only the third amateur to win such an event, but that is no guarantee in golf.

On paper, English and Lewis have the ability to make it, but they could easily fail and fail pretty spectacularly.

It is a cruel old game and they won't know how cruel until they take this risk.

ncameron@thenational.ae

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