The role of the PGA Europro Tour in nurturing talents of the future was highlighted recently when Lee Slattery joined an ever-expanding list of former Europro players that have risen to the heights of European Tour winner.
His maiden victory in Madrid this month saw him join the likes of Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher, Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and BMW PGA Championship winner Simon Khan, who have all made the transition from European golf’s leading developmental tour.
Slattery’s success has reinforced the PGA Europro Tour’s status as the perfect environment for aspiring young professionals as well as leading amateurs, who have an eye on the paid ranks, to hone their competitive skills.
Founded in 2001, the Europro Tour is a partnership between the PGA and Matchroom Sports and has proven a fertile breeding ground for players seeking to strive to the top of the game.
It also rewarding for the successful players with this year’s Order of Merit winner Chris Hanson having banked more than £37,000.
He has also secured his place on the Challenge Tour, as did the rest of the top five, which proves an enticing carrot for many of the players on the Tour.
With the fierce standard of competition on the European Tour getting ever stronger, PGA chief executive Sandy Jones believes the Eurorpo tour is more vital than ever.
“Players are better coached than ever before but it is the ability to translate that into results which will decide which make it through to the very highest level and the PGA Eurorpro Tour is invaluable in giving aspiring golfers the chance to test themselves at a very high standard of competition,” he said.
Barry Hearn, the sporting impresario and chairman of Matchroom Sport, highlighted its benefits in the PGA Yearbook. “A look at our membership shows that it is mostly young golfers competing which is what I and Sandy Jones wanted,” said Hearn. “We always felt there was a gap in the market and Sandy Jones has to be praised for his foresight.
“The PGA Europro Tour allows players to work at their craft and enable the young players coming through a taste of life on tour and a way to work through the ranks. Some players take their opportunity, as we have seen over the years.
“The PGA Europro Tour is a feeder tour to not only the Challenge Tour but also the European Tour, which is what we set out to do.”
Among the other notable players to graduate from its ranks are Graeme Storm, Marc Warren, Richard Finch and John Parry.