Folk hero Shane Lowry is set to announce he’s turning professional at a Dublin city centre hotel on Thursday.
But his new manager, Horizon Sports’ Conor Ridge, has rubbished suggestions that the shock Irish Open winner can become an overnight millionaire.
“People are talking about Danny Lee getting a million dollars from Callaway and that sort of stuff. It’s not going to happen.
“He’s Asian, he’s not from Offaly, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
“The big money to be made at the moment is on the golf course, not off it. The world has changed.”
Lowry is expected to announce that he will make his professional debut in next week’s European Open at the London Club in Kent.
Just don’t expect to see him festooned with logos from big money sponsors.
Ridge explained: “You are talking about a guy who is Irish. It is a huge story in Ireland. Is it a big story in the ‘States? No. Is it a big story in the UK? They’ll take note of it.
“It’s a big, big story in Ireland, which is probably the most depressed market in the world at present, next to Iceland. People have got to take that on board.”
Horizon Sports issued an invitation at 7pm on Wednesday, asking the media attend a press conference in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel for a “significant announcement”.
And while the invitation does not reveal that Horizon are signing Lowry or what his intentions are, Ridge made no secret of the fact that he wants to sign the hottest property in Irish golf and protect him.
Speaking at Wentworth yesterday, Ridge said: “I think we’d be the best company for him, without wanting to be biased in any way, I just don’t believe anyone would look after him the way we will.
“If he joins us the likes Graeme can help him, advise him, look after him, maybe more so than if he was with another company because I can influence that as well.
“Every country in the world is different, every culture is different. Nobody is going to be able to relate to Shane Lowry like we can.”
Rory McIlroy already had major deals lined up before he turned professional under ISM’s Chubby Chandler at the British Masters in September 2007.
But Ridge believes that McIlroy’s former team mate Lowry is a totally different player who needs to be protected from the hype that has exploded in Ireland since the 22-year old amateur stunned the golfing world by winning the 3 Irish Open in a play-off last Sunday.
Ridge said: “I’ve never seen anything like this since I’ve been in management, which means he needs to be protected even more than most.
“Rory has a gradual build-up, this guy has been thrown straight in.”
Lowry has been uncontactable since he lifted the Irish Open and has not even been taking calls or replying to texts from triple major winner Padraig Harrington.
On hearing the news of the imminent announcement, Harrington said: “He’s got to do what he’s got to do and nobody knows his situation but him.”
Like Harrington, Ryder Cup veteran and 1991 Walker Cup player Paul McGinley advised Lowry not to turn professional until after the Walker Cup.
“He should wait for three months, size up the professional world and play a few professional tournaments as an amateur over the summer,” McGinley said. “He could also then play a few top amateur events but take his time and get everything in place; get his sponsorship in place; get his management company in place and then play the Walker Cup and enjoy that experience.
“Shane now has time on his side, so give himself three months to enjoy what he has just achieved and not jump straight into the professional ranks head-first.”
It appears likely that the advice of Harrington and McGinley has fallen deaf ears.
And Great Britain and Ireland skipper Colin Dalgleish is resigned to losing his top player for September’s matches with the US in Pennsylvania.
“I am disappointed from a Great Britain & Ireland point of view,” Dalgleish told Golfweek. “He was one of our stronger players and a good candidate to make the team. However, I understand and respect his choice. It was a big decision for him to make, and he’s obviously done what he thinks is best for his career.
“I am surprised he didn’t take the advice of Padraig (Harrington) and Paul McGinley. He’s got his whole life to play professional golf but just the one chance to play the Walker Cup. He could have waited until after the match. The money would have still been there for him.
“It’s not the first time we’ve lost a Walker Cup player midseason, and it won’t be the last. We’ll continue on, and I still believe we’ll have a strong team for the Walker Cup.”