Sunday 25 June 2017

Smyth sets out the formula for building a solid Tour career

Former Ryder Cup vice-captain and player Des Smyth Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Former Ryder Cup vice-captain and player Des Smyth Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

THE buzzword in professional golf is 'statistics', with technology and mathematical formulae utilised to produce vast amounts of analytical information for players, coaches and fans.

No doubt, the stats hub is here to stay. The PGA Tour leads the way with their fascinating range of information on individual players and the European Tour is catching up with their American counterparts.

But when it comes to the reality of surviving and prospering on Tour, former Ryder Cup vice-captain and player Des Smyth has a clear idea of the requisite standard.

Smyth is still active on the European Senior circuit 43 years after turning pro.

His vast experience and easy-going, approachable manner makes Smyth a magnet for parents of players whose offspring show talent for the game and who want to pursue the dream of making a living on Tour.

For all his affability, Smyth does not mince his words when the question is asked, 'do you think my son/daughter has a chance of making it?'.

He has a simple answer.

"I say, how good are they?" he explains. "Could they make a living out of golf on their own without support?

"Can they shoot 69 every day. . . and I don't care what golf course they play, whether it's easy or it's hard. If I shoot 69 every day I'm making a barrow-load of money. Shoot 72-73, and you're an also-ran."

Four 69s is 12-under par for the week for the average European Tour par-72 layout.

Any player who can average 276 across the tournaments he plays, no matter what the par, can enjoy a lucrative career.

Of course, if it were that simple, everyone would be on the fairways trousering loads of money, but Smyth's reasoning stands up to scrutiny.

For example, 276 for 12-under was worth €44,680 at the Australian PGA Championship; €58,726 at the Maybank Championship; €18,617 in the Hong Kong Open, and between €44,154-€63,078 depending on where the 276-shooters finished in the final-day match play section of the new World Super 8 in Perth.

As a guideline for the prospective pro, Smyth's formula is sound. The good news for Ireland's Paul Dunne is that he is steadily increasing the number of sub-70 rounds in his tournaments.

Last week he shot 69, 68, 69 for nine-under in the Joburg Open, which was played on two courses and was reduced to 54 holes because of weather delays.

Yesterday, Dunne hit the -12 mark in the Tshwane Open in Pretoria, finishing the tournament with rounds of 73, 68, 65, 66 for only the third top-ten finish of his European Tour career.

Dunne's score was good enough for a tied-sixth finish and boosted his earnings by €35,772.

The event was won by South Africa's Dean Burmester who finished with a 65 for 18-under par and a two-shot win from the joint second-placed pair, Jorge Campillo of Spain and Mikko Korhonen of Finland.

Burmester had lost his card last year but after this, his first European Tour victory, he has an exemption until the end of 2018, plus a cheque for €190,055.

Dunne tweeted in response to congratulatory messages from family and friends: "After the start really happy with the weeks work thanks for all the messages.

"Congrats @BurmyGolf long time coming. Delighted for you. #gent."

"I can't believe it," said Burmester, who finished 11th in last week's Joburg Open after starting the final round one shot off the lead.

"I've had an amazing summer and last week was a frustrating day for me on Sunday, but then my family and everyone who supported me said: 'We're coming up next week so you better win in front of us' and I'm glad to have done that.

"Now I'm a European Tour winner and that sounds great."

Irish Independent

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