Connor Syme has been tipped to become a European Tour winner as the young Fifer prepares to try to build on his stunning start in the professional ranks after securing a spot in this week’s Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
At the same time, though, the man who was at Syme’s side as he chalked up top-15 finishes in both the Portugal Masters and Dunhill Links Championship is urging people to be patient with the 22-year-old over the coming weeks and months.
Edinburgh man Tim Poyser first started caddying for Syme when he was still in the amateur ranks and has enjoyed watching from close-quarters as the Drumoig player has made the best start in the paid game by a Scottish golfer for many a year.
Syme, who made the switch on the back of climbing into the world’s top 10 this year and also playing in the Walker Cup, has broken par in seven of his eight rounds so far and earned close to £71,000 from two starts.
On the back of those performances, his management company, Modest! Golf, successfully secured the final invitation for the event at Valderrama, where Masters champion Sergio Garcia is the tournament host.
“It’s been fun to be part of it, however small that may have been,” said Poyser of seeing Syme bursting out of the blocks. “Based on how he’s performed in his two events, it’s obvious Connor can play at the level required to compete on the European Tour.
“Comparing his game against the five or six seasoned professionals he’s played alongside in those events only further confirmed my thoughts that he’s a Tour winner in the making. But Connor and I are acutely aware he still has a long way to go and many more challenges to complete before he even gets a European Tour card.”
That is reference to the fact Syme is preparing for the second stage of the Qualifying School at the beginning of next month, having avoided the opening stage thanks to his World Amateur Golf Ranking.
“I hope people don’t get too carried away and expect too much from him as at the moment he has zero status in the professional game,” added Poyser. “But he is doing all the right things by having a great management team, coach and family around him. It’s been a fun journey so far and we’re both keen for it to continue.”
That journey also included an Open Championship appearance at Royal Birkdale in July, as well as a practice round for the Dunhill Links with Rory McIlroy, who was very complimentary about Syme, both as a golfer and a person.
“Even though Connor missed the cut at The Open, I could tell he was ready for the pro game,” insisted Poyser, who worked as a financial advisor for Standard Life before deciding to give caddying a go at the same time as arranging luxury golf trips to Scotland for Americans in a self-employed role with a company called Connoisseur Golf.
“Nothing phased him and the occasion certainly didn’t get to him. He actually ended up getting a pretty poor draw weather wise and the conditions just got a little bit of the better of him on the Friday which is why I feel he missed the cut.
“He did make a couple of poor swings and maybe the odd bad decision, which I am partially to blame for. But, in our debrief, we both learned a lot and he’s not made the same mistakes since. He’s definitely a better golfer since The Open.
“Portugal was a great start to his pro career. He was very composed all week. I think playing in The Open and the other three or four pro events he played as an amateur really helped him as there were no hint of nerves or change in behaviour/attitude despite now playing for money.
“We knew there was going to be quite a bit of press interest in him during the Dunhill but again he took it all in his stride. Even when he met and played with Rory, there wasn’t a hint of nerves. I think his performance over the weekend at St Andrews (rounds of 69 and 66) will only increase his confidence, not that he really needs it as he’s a confident, self- assured person on the course.”