Updated: Moriarty, Higgins and Brady confirmed for Wentworth


Leading trio Colm Moriarty, David Higgins and Eamonn Brady will tee it up in next May's BMW PGA at Wentworth.

The places provisionally earmarked for the Top 10 finishers in the PGA Playoffs in Turkey, which were subject to confirmation by the European Tour, have been confirmed. 

Tournament winner Gareth Wright will be joined by Matt Cort (Beedles Lake), Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre), James Ruth (China Fleet), 36-year old former Challenge Tour winner Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance), 43-year old former European Tour player Higgins (Waterville), Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf), 41-year old Brady (Clontarf), Guy Woodman (Longball Inc) and James Ablett (Lee-on-the-Solent) will take on the cream of the European Tour.

That's excellent news for the rank and file professionals, who used to have a far bigger presence in PGA European Tour events, such as Wentworth or the Irish Open.

It is always assumed that the leading finishers from the previous season's PGA Irish Region Order of Merit — six this year at Royal County Down — will automatically play in the Irish Open when in fact they must always wait for confirmation of their Category 7 places by the European Tour at some stage the following season.

At one stage, the Top 10 Irish players got starts at Wentworth with twice that many playing the Irish open. but those days are long gone and even securing an Irish Open spot is now something a battle with the number of spots recently reduced from eight to six.

Former European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady considered staging a qualifier for the Irish Open in recent years given the numbers of young Irish players looking for a break. 

However, offering new spots would have meant giving up some the European Tour's invitations and the move failed to get off the ground.

Our sources tell us that the idea of a qualifier has not died with the old Chief Executive and is being actively considered for next year's €4m Dubai Duty Free sponsored event at The K Club.

Whether the places offered in any theoretical qualifier would be in addition to the traditional places awarded to the leading players in the PGA Irish Region is unknown

The European Tour has yet to respond to a request for clarification on any intent to stage a qualifier but the PGA Irish Region Secretary, Michael McCumiskey, said he had no knowledge of such a move.

"I know nothing about it," he said. 

Asked if he expected to have six Irish Region PGA professionals in the field at The K Club, he said: "That's a different question.

"The record speaks for itself. The six spots for 2015 were only confirmed at the beginning of 2015. Right now, we don't know what the number is because the European Tour, I think I am right in saying, has not decided.

"We don't know anything about 2016, certainly not regarding your first question [on the qualifier]. With regard to the second question, the number of places has not been indicated by the European Tour for the K Club next May." 

In an ideal world, it would be intersting to see both the leading PGA professionals from the Irish Region and some Monday (or Tuesday) qualifiers, get to rub shoulders with the tour stars.