By Brian Keogh
Bray battler Keith Nolan won't get a cent in grant aid from the Team Ireland Golf Trust this year.
But the frustrated Nationwide Tour player plans to prove the Irish Sports Council wrong by letting his clubs do the talking in the US this season.
Around €200,000 of public and private money will be doled out to Ireland's budding golf stars by Sports Minister Seamus Brennan at Dublin's Conrad Hotel tomorrow.
But after learning that he is getting no support for the third year in a row, former PGA Tour player Nolan plans to show the decision-makers that he's not finished in his quest to make the big time.
Nolan said: "I think that it is a shame considering there are only two Irishmen with cards in the US in 2008 - Padraig Harrington and myself.
"I have continued to promote and support Ireland and Irish golf. I hope that I have been a good ambassador for Ireland and it is disappointing not to be acknowledged by our sporting bodies.
"I am upset, but I will fight through it and try and prove them wrong."
The Team Ireland Golf Trust has granted over €2 million to young Irish pros since 2000 thanks to a partnership between state agencies, private companies and the various golf organisations.
The Irish Sports Council and Failte Ireland provide financial backing along with private sector interests ONE51, O’Callaghan Hotels and the PGA European Tour.
Nolan received €87,531 between 2001 and 2004 but lost his US playing privileges and ended up with no backing at all.
The Team Ireland Trust introduced a "five-year rule" designed to identify the players it considers as the most likely to succeed.
But Nolan's performances and the hefty early investment in his career resulted in his application being rejected this year.
The Trust's resources have been concentrated in recent years with €205,000 handed out to 15 players last year compared to €252,000 to 29 players in 2004.
It's tough for Tennessee-based Nolan, 35, who had to work in his local Starbucks coffee shop two years ago to make enough cash to support his wife and three children.
He bounced back to regain his Nationwide Tour rights last year but 89th place on the money list and second last place in the Q-School wasn't enough to save his full card this term.
Nolan said: "I have a conditional Nationwide Tour card this year, which means that I have to Monday qualify for events before I can make a cheque."
So far, Nolan has failed to qualify for any Nationwide Tour events this season.
And after the rejection of his application for funding from the Team Ireland Trust, he's under even more pressure to perform - and pay the bills.