Lee Westwood backing James Sugrue as he awaits Irish Open invitation
"I would definitely take up on that offer if it was possible."
If James Sugrue can get back to Ireland and pass all the necessary health checks, one hopes the Irish Open organisers can do him a major solid.
Following their opening day pairing at the US Open, Lee Westwood spoke about how well Irish amateur James Sugrue had fared and his potential over the coming years. He was then asked if the Cork native should not have been invited to play in The Irish Open at Galgorm later this month [September 24-27].
The question surprised the hell out of Westwood. He commented:
"He's the British amateur champion from Ireland, and he's not got an invite to the Irish Open... Little bit shocked at that. Maybe there should be a late one in there."
Sugrue played two rounds at the Winged Foot course in New York with Westwood and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson. Although the Mallow native carded 78 and 79 to miss the cut by a distance, he was not the only golfer chewed up on a notoriously difficult course.
After 36 holes, only six players are under par and some big names have scored high - Sergio Garcia (+15), Graeme McDowell (+16), Jordan Spieth (+14), Phil Mickelson (+13), Ian Poulter (+12) and Tiger Woods (+10). For Sugrue to finish out on +17 is no disgrace, but he was self-critical after his US Open bow.
Sugrue also has an invitation to the Masters, this November, but is struggling to find competitive golf due to the Covid-19 shockwaves and shutdowns. The amateur golf scene in Ireland has taken a big hit, the Walker Cup star told reporters, so it may have to be a case of practice, practice, practice. Asked about a possible Irish Open invite, Sugrue confirmed that no conversations had taken place yet, but added:
"I would love to [play]. It would be great to get a start in the Irish Open. That would be brilliant. I would definitely take up on that offer if it was possible."
Asked if he was surprised at the lack of communication, from Irish Open organisers or someone from the European Tour, Sugrue replied, "Yeah, a little bit.
"I thought that I had done enough to warrant an invitation. Obviously, it's not my decision. I don't know whose decision it is or who hands out invitations, but, yeah, I wouldn't dwell on it too much. If I'm in, I'm in. If I'm not, I'm not. It's not the end of the world.
"It would be a pretty quick turnaround coming home from here. I'm not too sure what the story is with me coming home and quarantine and stuff like that. It's in the North of Ireland this year, so they have different rules, the Republic, so it's all a little bit messy. If the opportunity came up, I'd definitely play."
Sugrue's original intention would have been playing the US Open, British Open and Masters as an amateur, earlier this year, and turning progressional after the summer. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the golfing landscape, and the Mallow man's plans.
One hopes he can secure a pick-me-up by getting that golden ticket to The Irish Open.