When the time is right

It is nothing new but it seems to have turned up earlier this year than ever before. The question of when to turn professional. For any player worth his salt this is a huge question and decision, many time made much bigger than what they need to be. Golf is, possibly together with boxing, a sport where the possibility of making money is made up on a decision and not by your level of performance. Obviously you need to perform to walk away with a check but unless you have made that conscious decision first, a great result won’t do anything for you. Once the decision is made it helps to have playing rights. Usually with the top amateurs in Europe that means we are talking about playing rights on the European and/or Challenge Tours. The way to get those is through the qualifying school. And if golf was anything like most other sports the alternatives would stop right there. It is difficult to imagine a way of qualifying for the Premier League other than winning the league below. However, golf is nothing like other sports.

In addition to the qualifying system there is a bit of an open market out there. Starts on the Challenge Tour (and on the main tour) are available to the highest bidder. With sponsorship comes player invites, no matter if you are a company, a federation/governing body, or a management group. Of course this is a nice carrot to dangle in front of players in a way of ‘sign with us and we will offer you…’ in one respect I guess this is fine. The player gets the opportunities to play and the chance is there to perform well enough to get that card. The only problem is that the question of when the time is right goes completely out the window and there is a big chance that the time is right for one party only. The one making the offer. This offer is likely to be based upon the ‘brand’ of the player and the marketability the player carries and very little on skill levels and the assessment of whether he or she has got what it takes. In a different system, one where qualifying would be the one and only way this would regulate itself. Teams that are good enough generally do move into the Premier League. We could just do with helping ourselves a bit more in golf!

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1 Response to “When the time is right”


  1. 1 Brian Roake March 23, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I like this Peter, an honest assessment of the situation. All players I have spoken to have ask me “How many starts can you get me”. Playing rights should be a qualification you should strive to achieve, not be given!


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