The Confederation of Golf in Ireland has announced grants totalling €120,000 to eight aspiring golfers who are pursuing their careers on professional golf tours.
Stephanie Meadow has been allocated funding of €30,000, the largest single allocation ever awarded to a golfer by Team Ireland this time.
Over €3 million has been provided to golf professionals since the Team Ireland Golf scheme was introduced in 1999.
Formerly administered by the Irish Sports Council, Team Ireland Golf aims to contribute to an increase in the presence of Irish golf professionals on the various international tours.
The total budget for Team Ireland Golf in 2015 is €200,000, an increase of €30,000 on 2014 and is made up of €170,000 from the Irish Sports Council and €30,000 from Fáilte Ireland.
The budget includes allocations for the GUI Academy and for the ILGU and GUI Performance Managers who work with the golfers on the scheme.
. Stephanie will be competing on the LPGA Tour following an exciting start to her professional career in 2014, which included a 3rd place finish at the US Women’s Open.
Two Waterford men will both receive allocations of €20,000, with Kevin Phelan and Seamus Power the recipients. Power will be receiving his largest allocation from Team Ireland after he earned his Web.com card, while Kevin Phelan’s allocation matches his funding in 2014 as he bids to win back full playing rights on the European Tour for 2016.
There is one new entrant from the amateur ranks to the scheme in 2015, in Reeve Whitson. Whitson will be competing on the EPD Tour and has been allocated a grant of €10,000.
Niall Turner and Niall Kearney will both receive allocations of €10,000. Both will compete on the Asian Tour, with Kearney also intending to play a significant number of events on the Challenge Tour.
Ruaidhri McGee will receive funding of €10,000 following his illness hampered season in 2014.
Former winner of the British Amateur Championship, Alan Dunbar will receive a grant of €10,000 in his third season as a professional.
Minister of State for Sport and Tourism, Mr Michael Ring TD, welcomed the allocation of the grants: “Golf plays a significant role in Irish Society, from a sports and tourism perspective. Ireland’s Golfers continue to achieve on the world stage and we must continue to invest in our emerging golfers to sustain this success and maintain a strong Irish presence on international tours. Team Ireland Golf supports professional golfers at the start of their tour careers. I want to pay tribute to everyone involved in the scheme, including the GUI, ILGU, Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Sports Council which assist golfers to progress from amateur to professional ranks.”
As part of the support package, all golfers can avail of the world class facilities at the GUI’s National Academy at Carton House. The golfers on the scheme also have free access to the network of service providers such as physiologists, sports psychologists, biomechanists, physiotherapists and doctors coordinated by the Institute of Sport at Abbotstown.
Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of the Board of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland said: “Ireland has an enviable record of producing outstanding golfers. In recent times, it is very gratifying to see our golfers compete and win at the highest levels on the world stage. It is vital that we all do everything we can to ensure that this “assembly line” of high performing Irish golfers should continue. We, in the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, are most pleased to be able to assist that coming generation by supporting them through the financial grants we’re announcing today. We wish these golf stars of tomorrow every success in their endeavors.”
John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council commented: “I would like to congratulate the Confederation of Golf on their successful administration of the Team Ireland Golf scheme. This investment, along with the support services and free access to the GUI Academy, are essential to assist our top golfers to make the transition from amateur to the professional ranks. It is vitally important that we continue to support our individual golfers to ensure that the game remains healthy and that Ireland has a strong representation in professional tournaments around the world”.
Stephanie Meadow (€30,000) said: “I am very proud to be part of Team Ireland Golf for the coming season. I am very grateful for the grant awarded by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and TIG as it goes a long way towards helping me to train, compete and perform to the best of my ability and achieve my goal of securing a full LPGA Tour card”.
Seamus Power (€20,000) responded to the news of the grant: “The grant from Team Ireland makes such a huge difference to my year, or more specifically the planning of my year, it’s tough to put into words. Chasing my dream of playing professional golf at the top level can be very draining of physical and financial resources at times but to have the support of Team Ireland relieves so much pressure and strain it will allow me to play freer and better golf. I cannot thank Team Ireland enough for this tremendous help and support!”
Kevin Phelan (€20,000) commented: “I appreciate the support I have received from Team Ireland and this will be vital in helping me develop my game over the next 12 months.
“We are very fortunate to have a great crop of young Irish golfers right now and I am honoured to be a part of Team Ireland”