8am Round-Up: Scott Henry welcomes new support for Scottish golfers

Padraig Harrington has cleared the air with Masters champion Sergio Garcia. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Padraig Harrington has cleared the air with Masters champion Sergio Garcia. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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European Tour professional Scott Henry has welcomed a new support package aimed at helping ease the transition from amateur golf to the paid ranks for Scottish players.

The initiative is being unveiled today in Edinburgh and Henry is hoping it can allow the new wave of potential European Tour players to make that switch as smoothly as possible.

Recalling his own experience when he turned professional nine years ago, Henry told Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “In amateur tournaments, travelling with your friends playing a lot of team golf, you’ve always got a safety net there to bounce off people if you’ve not had a good day.

“You don’t get that when you are playing professional golf and, though it sounds a bit extreme, no-one cares. We are playing for money; we are playing for a livelihood.

“You realise that everyone is out there for themselves and the quicker you can get over the fact you are the one that needs to pick yourself up off the floor after a missed cut or whatever it is that is pulling you down.”

Caused by a decade’s worth of amateur talent having struggled to make that transition, the average age of the Scottish players currently on the European Tour is 37.

Henry, the youngest of that bunch at 30, was asked if it was the mental side of the game where Scots are coming up short in comparison to promising young professionals from other countries.

“If it’s not the most important thing, it is certainly one of the most important,” he added. “You need to be able to take the rough with the smooth, which you don’t really have to do that as an amateur.

“If you don’t play good, oh well. If you play good, then it’s obviously great. You need to pick yourself up in professional golf and that’s the toughest bit.”

Henry has spent the bulk of his pro career to date on the Challenge Tour, having narrowly lost his main Tour card at the end of 2013 before regaining it this season.

Asked if the failure of some players not cutting the mustard in the pro game was simply down to them not being good enough, he said: “There are so many factors and if not enough of those factors are working well, you are not going to make it - that’s the reality.

“It’s not just about showing up and knowing that your short game and long game are good. It’s little pieces to the puzzle.

“I’ve had times where I’ve had no money to play, which is a bit of a shock. But the reality of it is that there is not a lot of money spread across to give more guys the opportunity.”

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Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia have settled their differences - and apparently used Rory McIlroy’s weekend wedding to do so.

The pair had made no secret of the fact that they weren’t exactly the best of buddies, a frostiness having been evident since Harrington won both the 2007 Open and 2008 US PGA at Garcia’s expense.

Even after Garcia became Masters champion earlier this month, Harrington described the Spaniard as a sore loser.

But, speaking at an event in Dublin organised by the R&A to promote this year’s Open at Royal Birkdale, the Irishman revealed that bridges have now been rebuilt.

“Sergio and I are on a much better footing,” said Harrington. “We’ve had a chat, because obviously clearly there was a bit of an elephant in the room about what I said.

“We have decided that we will look, going forward, at our similarities and the good in each of us rather than any other way. So we are in a great place. So if anything, it’s worked out for the better.”

Asked whether he met Garcia at McIlroy’s wedding in County Mayo on Saturday, a smiling Harrington added: “It was somewhere. As you would expect with these things, literally the first person I met was Sergio.

“It was something that needed to be done straightaway and the opportunity came up straightaway.

“I’ve got to say, Sergio made it very easy. He was exceptionally good about it. He already was well informed, which was nice.

“That he looked into the deal of it and he understood what I was actually saying.”

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A strong Scottish contingent heads into action today in the opening round of the new PGA EuroPro Tour seaason.

Thirteen Scots have made the journey to Close House, near Newcastle, for the 54-hole Lookers Championship.

They include Jamie McLeary, who won the third-tier circuit’s Qualifying School at Frilford Heath earlier in the month, and Tartan Tour No 1 Greig Hutcheon.

Alva’s Lawrence Allan makes his pro debut after coming through the Qualifying School as an amateur while also in the field are two former Walker Cup players, Michael Stewart and Wallace Booth.

Completing the ‘Tartan Army’ are Craig Lawrie, Jordan McColl, Ryan Campbell, Louis Gaughan, Connor O’Neill, Fraser Moore, Neil Fenwick and Paul Shields

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Jack Doherty is lying joint-16th heading into today’s final round of the Ras Al Khaimah Classic, a MENA Tour event in the UAE.

The Ayrshireman, who won the third-tier circuit’s Qualifying School in Morocco earlier in the year, shot a second-round 69 for a four-under-par total.

He’s eight shots off the lead after Englishman Daniel Owen stormed clear of the field at Tower Links Golf Club after opening with two 66s.

One of his closest challengers on seven-under is former Amateur champion Stephen Dodd.

Doherty’s fellow Scot, Clarke Lutton, is sitting in a share of 27th on one-under-par.