After his fabulous performance in the British Open at Royal Birkdale where he finished joint fifth, 20-year-old British golfer Chris Wood has signed professional terms with the International Sports Management group. He will now receive invitations for the European Tour and will not have to qualify for next years’ British Open.
Considering not many people had heard of Chris Wood before his impressive display at Royal Birkdale, this is a dream come true for him. He has already said that the tournament was ‘the best week of my life’ an on turning professional he believes that he can have an ‘exciting and successful future in the professional ranks’.
There are certainly worse futures than travelling the world as a professional golfer and Chris Wood is understandably over the moon with this latest twist in his short golfing career.
Chris Wood did have the option to stay as an amateur for another year, but after discussing his options with the likes of Darren Clarke, he decided that he would be better suited to a year of professional golf on the European tour. I have to say I think this is the right choice. He is much more likely to improve as a golfer playing with and against the best players in the world.
Then of course there is the financial benefit – Chris Wood could make a living for himself now he has turned pro, something he couldn’t have done if he didn’t make the step up from amateur golf.
One thing Chris Wood does need to realise – and I’m sure he does – is that this is where the hard work starts. He may feel like he has made it now, but he is going to have to consistently put in strong performances to succeed on the European tour. At just 20-years-old, this will not be easy – he still has a lot to learn.
Justin Rose will vouch for this as after he finished joint fourth in the British Open, aged 17, he went on to miss 21 cuts in a row. I’m not saying that Chris Wood will suffer similarly, but he must be wary of the fact that he is playing at a much, much higher level now – it’s time to mix it with the big boys for the Bristolian.
The next few months are important for him, if he can get through them without suffering a Justin Rose style bad run, then many golf bets will be placed on him winning a major before long. This may seem like I am getting ahead of myself, but his performance in the British Open was the best from an English amateur in ten years and there is no doubt he has talent. Now it’s time to show this talent on a regular basis at the highest level.