Friday 28 October 2016

Big pay day not far away - but Dunne is urged to wait before any pro switch

Shane O'Riordan

Published 21/07/2015 | 02:30

A member offers Paul Dunne support at Greystones Golf Club
A member offers Paul Dunne support at Greystones Golf Club

From college player to potential millionaire, Paul Dunne may be the next Irish sportstar worth over €1m, should he decide on turning professional, top sports management agents in the country have said.

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Their prediction comes after Dunne led the British Open going into the last day of the tournament.

Although Dunne's amateur status meant he was never going to be allowed collect the €1.66m prize money, a big pay day is still very close.

But depending on bonuses and endorsment deals, the 22-year-old from Greystones could easily see more than €1m before 2016, according to Mick O'Keeffe, CEO of leading PR firmPSG Communications.

However, O'Keeffe said: "We would be advising that he waits until after the Walker Cup before making a decision.

"What normally happens in these situations is that there is huge pressure on amateurs who do well to turn professional.

"Once he plays the Walker Cup, the expectation would be that he'd turn professional after that. So he can't make money until he's professional.

"There's no major rush on him to do it, but he'd probably need to do it before the end of the year."

If the University of Alabama player decides on making the move to the professional ranks, sports management companies will be fighting over him, Mr O'Keeffe predicted.

He said the performance at the Open would "catapult him way up in terms of marketability and earning potential.

"I think all the sports management agencies will be trying to get a piece of the action. He does have huge potential. I mean for a guy who's only 22 years of age and for him to be at that level at that stage in his life is a huge result.

"Agencies will be looking at him as a future Jordan Spieth, with his style and the fact that he came through under the radar and scored so well."

But Dunne should tackle the problem in the same way Shane Lowry did in 2007 when he won the Irish Open as an amateur, according to John Trainor, CEO of Onside Sports.

"The other example of a guy who shot to fame in this way would be Shane Lowry after he won the Irish Open and turned professional straight away.

"You'd expect Dunne to attract sponsors from clothing companies and everything else that goes with golf as well," he said.

But did Lowry turn professional too soon and should Dunne be so quick to make the move?

"[Lowry] hasn't done badly for himself. The proof for him is he's having a really good career now. Dunne should turn pro when he's ready. He should have the prestige of playing in the Walker Cup under his belt before turning pro," Trainor added.

Irish Independent

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