31st March 2016
Jack McDonald one of the stars of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) 2015 Walker Cup team today announced he was turning professional.
Jack played in three matches at the recent Walker Cup. He was unbeaten in both of his foursomes, where he partnered superbly with his fellow Stirling University friend Cormac Sharvin. He halved his final day singles against Lee McCoy, who finished 4th as an amateur at the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour just a few weeks ago.
Jack is the 7th member of the 10-man GB&I Walker Cup team to turn Pro. Just Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest and Jack Hume remain amateurs. Ewen and Grant also today announced they had signed with Edinburgh-based Bounce Sport “ahead of expected switches to the professional ranks later this year”. The move has secured them four starts on the European Challenge Tour in 2016 as part of a new alliance between Bounce and Scottish Golf.
Jack won the 2009 Scottish Boys’ Stroke Play Championship aged 16 and has twice been a semi-finalist in the Amateur championship, in 2012 and 2015 where he lost to Romain Langasque. In 2014 he was part of the successful 2014 European Palmer Cup team and last year he was a member of the Scotland team that won the European Men’s Team Championship.
It was only 6 days ago that Jack was included in the R&A’s GB&I St. Andrews Trophy Squad announcement having spent the winter with Scotland Golf playing in Australia and South Africa. Therefore it seems he was either playing his cards close to his chest or a late decision has been made. He currently has no playing rights on any professional tour.
As he said today “I have done a lot in the amateur game now. I think I’m ready to make the transition and that my game is there so I’m looking to just keep improving.” He turned 23 on the 12th February so it is difficult to argue with his decision and thinking.
Jack had already entered the Final Stage of the PGA EuroPro Tour Qualifying School. His Walker Cup selection having exempted him from the First Stage qualifiers which concluded today. He will now make his professional debut at Frilford Heath next week. He was missing from yesterday’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, where he has been a Top 50 player for much of he last 12 months, so the writing was perhaps on the wall for an announcement this week.
Jack who plays out of the Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club in Scotland has signed for International Sports Management (ISM), the management company headed up by Chubby Chandler. Fellow Walker Cupper Gavin Moynihan signed with ISM immediately after last September’s match at Lytham.
Jack McDonald and Chubby Chandler (Photo: ISM)
Jack is expected to seek starts on the European Challenge Tour, the PGA EuroPro Tour and the MENA Tour (a well worn path for ISM clients).
I wish him every success as he embarks on the next chapter of his golfing life. If he can get his game in order then commercially he should be a God send; he always seems to be smiling (even whilst playing) and appears to have a friendly personality to go with his youthful good looks.
I’ve got a 2016 target for him – qualify for The Open at Royal Troon, his ‘home’ Championship venue.
Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley All rights reserved.