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Emerging Irish talent shouldn’t fear changes to qualifying on Tour

Harrington’s achievements transformed Ireland’s status in tournament golf

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Ireland's Philip Walton in action at the 1994 Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews. Photo: Getty Images

Ireland's Philip Walton in action at the 1994 Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews. Photo: Getty Images

Seve Ballesteros and coach Mac O'Grady at St Mellion in 1994. Photo: Stephen Munday/Getty Images

Seve Ballesteros and coach Mac O'Grady at St Mellion in 1994. Photo: Stephen Munday/Getty Images

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Ireland's Philip Walton in action at the 1994 Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews. Photo: Getty Images

A classic November image came from breakfast at a hotel on the Costa del Sol. It portrayed a brave but financially challenged young hopeful, slipping slices of ham and a few bread-rolls under a morning newspaper for sandwiches which would save him the price of a meal later in the day.

This was often the lot of competitors in the European Tour’s annual Qualifying School since its launch in 1976. Widely considered to be the game’s toughest test, its future is now in doubt due to the far-reaching impact of Covid.


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