Fair play to Mark Murphy for kicking off a debate on bookface regarding the fiasco that sees no amateurs in next week's Irish Open field for the first time in forever.

The only way Irish Amateur Champion Peter O'Keefe will be allowed into this year's Irish Open.
It was initially reported that the European Tour had cut the amateur spots since the Irish Open is no longer the dunce in the corner event but a Rolex Series €7 million bring your wheelbarrow extravaganza for only the top pros.

Then it emerged that the Golfing Union of Ireland were offered six places in the event, but turned them down, because their chosen six guys are to play in Austria that week.

And worth noting is that the newly crowned Irish Amateur Champion Peter O'Keefe was not even in the chosen six amateurs of the GUI.  He's neither going to Austria or playing in the Irish Open.

All in all it looks like a fiasco.

Murf kicked off proceedings with...

The Golfing Union of Ireland never cease to amaze me. They give up 6 invites for Amateurs to play in the Irish Open because their 6 man team will be playing in Austria. They talk about how much they do for golf I'm sorry, this decision is absolutely pathetic. Peter O'Keeffe won the Irish Amateur never got picked on the 6 man team & now doesn't get to play in his National Open. They have Got to be a laughing stock of Europe giving up their invites, the Scottish have a qualifier for only Scottish born people to play in their open & I am a huge fan of that, the Irish give theirs away.

After lots of comments....enter man in the know Brian Keogh of IrishGolfDesk to make sense of it all.

Brian Keogh I believe the offer was for 1-2 spots max but the top players are either heading to the Europeans or still at the Interpros. There will be no amateurs for sure in 2018. 
This is basically a European Tour decision. How many amateurs are playing the French Open this week (Rolex Series)? None. 

And at the Scottish Open, which is a Rolex Series event this year? None so far, as far as I can see.

There are only 6 professional invitations for Portstewart and two budding Irish pros got in. 

The GUI has a relationship with the Tour and will use what little leverage it has to secure invitations for amateurs (with professional aspirations) in other European Tour (and Challenge Tour) events. 

I would imagine the 6 Irish Region spots will be under pressure for next year too. The Irish Open is no longer a middle order (at best) European Tour event as it was, say, in 2000 (£1.6m). It's basically a $7m WGC and the 156 spots are like gold dust. 

Personally, I'd have sent the Irish Amateur Open champion for the last hurrah this year, just to save face, if it was ever really an option. But would people be happy to see a guy (great player, lovely bloke) who has decided he doesn't want to be a pro any more get a start and possibly stop Gavin Moynihan or Dermot McElroy from getting in? People complain there aren't enough Irish pros on tour, but you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Shane Lowry was already considered one of the best amateurs in Europe when he won at Baltray. I believe that any outstanding Irish amateur of that level will be given tour starts in future. Not sure it will be in a Rolex event, mind you. 
Times have changed. Time will tell if they have changed for the better.

This one is set to rumble on. Without amateurs of course!

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