No reigning Irish Professional champion has missed the Irish Open since the event was revived in 1975 — possibly ever. But that could all change this year if Derry's Michael McGeady fails to secure a sponsor's invitation for the European Tour's Irish Open at Fota Island next month.
The 36-year old had one of the proudest moments of his career last year when he captured the 103rd Irish Professional Championship at Roganstown.
He's no longer in receipt of a Team Ireland Golf Trust grant having run his five-year course with them. Things are so tight for the 36-year old family man that he could not afford to go to the European Tour Q-School last year.
But as a former European Challenge Tour winner — he won the SWALEC Wales Challenge in 2008 — he's clearly got the talent to take advantage of what could be his last big chance to make it big.
The top eight on the Irish Region of the PGA's Order of Merit will be in Cork but McGeady played just seven events last year and finished 11th.
He was chasing a Challenge Tour card through the Europro Tour and may well become the first Irish Professional champion since the Irish Open was revived in 1975 — possibly ever — to fail to get a start in his national open.
Nobody is owed a living and new qualifying criteria have been set. But if the Irish Professional Championship, an event that has suffered a clear demise in recent seasons is to be taken seriously, the winner should always qualify for the Irish Open.
McGeady was in action in England yesterday, firing a one under 71 to lead the Irish contingent in the PGA Europro Tour's Dawson and Sanderson Travel Classic at Longhirst Hall Golf Club in Northumberland, north of Newcastle.
Many other young Irish pros are also deserving of a sponsor's invitation. Given his credentials, he's at least deserving of consideration.