Record Team Ireland grant for Stephanie Meadow



Stephanie Meadow has been handed the biggest grant in the history of the Team Ireland Golf Trust — €30,000 to help her chase a full LPGA Tour card this season.

But while the former Jordanstown resident heads the list of eight aspiring pros who will split €120,000 in financial assistance with Waterford's Seamus Power and Kevin Phelan getting €20,00 each, there's no cash in the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) kitty for Brendan McCarroll, Brian Casey, Paul Cutler or Gareth Shaw this season.

McCarroll got €5,000  with Casey and Cutler getting €7,000 each last year. As for Shaw, he'd received financial help for six and a half years. With Team Ireland normally limiting assistance to between three and five years, the Lurgan man wasn't expecting another grant and insisted he was "very thankful" for the help he'd received to date.

The new recipients this year are Meadow, Niall Turner and Reeve Whitson.

Team Ireland Golf grant allocations 2015

  • Stephanie Meadow LPGA Tour €30,000

  • Kevin Phelan European Tour/Challenge Tour €20,000

  • Seamus Power Tour €20,000

  • Alan Dunbar Challenge Tour €10,000

  • Niall Kearney Challenge Tour/Asian Tour €10,000

  • Ruaidhri McGee Challenge Tour €10,000

  • Niall Turner Asian Tour €10,000

  • Reeve Whitson EPD Tour €10,000

Total  €120,000

Over €3 million has been provided to golf professionals since the Team Ireland Golf scheme was introduced in 1999. Formerly administered by the Irish Sports Council, Team Ireland Golf aims to contribute to an increase in the presence of Irish golf professionals on the various international tours. 

The total budget for Team Ireland Golf in 2015 is €200,000, an increase of €30,000 on 2014 and is made up of €170,000 from the Irish Sports Council and €30,000 from Fáilte Ireland. That said, the €120,000 to golfers is €37,000 less than was awarded to 15 players in 2011.

The budget includes allocations for the GUI Academy and for the ILGU and GUI Performance Managers who work with the golfers on the scheme. 

The budget includes allocations for the GUI Academy and for the ILGU and GUI Performance Managers who work with the golfers on the scheme. 

Meadow, whose allocation of €30,000 is the largest ever awarded to a golfer by Team Ireland, will be competing on the LPGA Tour following an exciting start to her professional career which included a third place finish at last year's US Women’s Open.

Power will be receiving his largest allocation from Team Ireland after he earned his Tour card, while Phelan’s allocation matches his funding in 2014 as he bids to win back full playing rights on the European Tour for 2016.

There is one new entrant from the amateur ranks to the scheme in 2015, in former Spanish Amateur champion Whitson, who will be competing on the EPD Tour and has been allocated a grant of €10,000. 

Cork native Turner and Dubliner Niall Kearney will both receive allocations of €10,000. Both will compete on the Asian Tour, with Kearney also intending to play a significant number of events on the Challenge Tour.

Ruaidhri McGee will receive funding of €10,000 following his illness hampered season in 2014.

Former winner of the British Amateur Championship, Alan Dunbar will receive a grant of €10,000 in his third season as a professional.

As part of the support package, all golfers can avail of the world class facilities at the GUI’s National Academy at Carton House. The golfers on the scheme also have free access to the network of service providers such as physiologists, sports psychologists, biomechanists, physiotherapists and doctors coordinated by the Institute of Sport at Abbotstown.

Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of the Board of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland said: “Ireland has an enviable record of producing outstanding golfers. In recent times, it is very gratifying to see our golfers compete and win at the highest levels on the world stage.

"It is vital that we all do everything we can to ensure that this "assembly line" of high performing Irish golfers should continue. We, in the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, are most pleased to be able to assist that coming generation by supporting them through the financial grants we're announcing today. We wish these golf stars of tomorrow every success in their endeavours."

John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council commented: “I would like to congratulate the Confederation of Golf on their successful administration of the Team Ireland Golf scheme.

"This investment, along with the support services and free access to the GUI Academy, are essential to assist our top golfers to make the transition from amateur to the professional ranks. 

“It is vitally important that we continue to support our individual golfers to ensure that the game remains healthy and that Ireland has a strong representation in professional tournaments around the world."

Stephanie Meadow (€30,000) said: “I am very proud to be part of Team Ireland Golf for the coming season. I am very grateful for the grant awarded by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and TIG as it goes a long way towards helping me to train, compete and perform to the best of my ability and achieve my goal of securing a full LPGA Tour card”.

Seamus Power (€20,000) responded to the news of the grant: "The grant from Team Ireland makes such a huge difference to my year, or more specifically the planning of my year, it's tough to put into words.

"Chasing my dream of playing professional golf at the top level can be very draining of physical and financial resources at times but to have the support of Team Ireland relieves so much pressure and strain it will allow me to play freer and better golf. I cannot thank Team Ireland enough for this tremendous help and support!"

Kevin Phelan (€20,000) commented: “I appreciate the support I have received from Team Ireland and this will be vital in helping me develop my game over the next 12 months.

“We are very fortunate to have a great crop of young Irish golfers right now and I am honoured to be a part of Team Ireland."



Team Ireland Golf - Eligibility and Criteria

Professional golfers, male or female, who meet the performance criteria as outlined below, will be eligible to submit an application for assistance from Team Ireland Golf. Applicants must provide evidence of a competition schedule and tour playing rights, which will lead to  becoming an established player on the European Tour/US PGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour/LPGA Tour. 

The Scheme will consist of three general categories for achievement of criteria; current   professional golfers, male amateur golfers turning professional and female amateur golfers  turning professional. 

I) Professional Golfers (including PGA Irish Region professionals) 

a) To be considered for support from TIG, male professional golfers must meet criteria for the 
2015 season on the following tours:

  • European Tour (exemption categories 1 – 15) 
  • European Challenge Tour (exemption categories 1- 14) 
  • U.S. PGA Tour (exempt tour priority rankings 1 – 27) 
  • Satellite Tours (PGA Europro Tour, EPD Tour, ALPS Tour, Nordic League – top 30 on the 2014 Order of Merit) 
  • Asian Tour (exempt status) 
  • South African Sunshine Tour (exempt categories 1 -13) 
  • Japan Golf Tour (exempt status) 
  • Korean Golf Tour (exempt status) 
  • Tour (exempt status) 
  • PGA Tour of Australasia (exempt status) 
  • PGA Tour Canada (exempt status) 
  • PGA Tour Latin America (exempt status) 
  • PGA Tour China (exempt status) 

b) To be considered for support from TIG, female professional golfers must meet criteria for the 2015 season on the following tours: 

  • Ladies European Tour (exemption categories 1 – 10)
  • U.S. LPGA Tour (priority status 1- 21) 
  • Japan LPGA (exempt status)
  • Korea LPGA (exempt status)
  • Australian LPG Tour (exempt status) 
  • China LPGA (exempt status) 

Note: Please note that applications received from players who achieve the criteria at a and b above will be subject to the provisions of the three to five year rule.

II) Male Amateur Golfers (turning professional) 

Only players in the top six of total points accumulated over a two-year period from the criteria as set out below will be considered.

The annual criteria for points are:

  • Willie Gill Award: Points accumulated in the Willie Gill Order of Merit
  • Internationals: 100 points for selection on Walker Cup team or Ireland team for World Amateur Team Championship
  • Home Internationals: 25 points for selection on Ireland team
  • European Team: 25 points for selection on Ireland team
  • In addition, players who are ranked among the top 100 in the R&A’s Official World amateur 
  • Rankings at the time of turning professional will also be considered. 

Note: Please note that applicants who are deemed eligible for support under the amateur criteria may be allowed up to a maximum of three years to achieve the professional golfers criteria in 
section 1a (excluding Satellite Tours criteria). This will be subject to annual review of each 
application and compliance with the terms and conditions of the Scheme. 

III) Female Amateur Golfers (turning professional)

To be eligible for grant aid from Team Ireland Golf, female first-time applicants must have  achieved elements of the following performance criteria, or similar, in amateur competition over the previous two years:

  • Top 50 in World Women’s Amateur Golf Rankings (WWAGR)
  • Top 25 in Ladies European Amateur Rankings (LEAR)
  • Top 10 in the Ladies Golf Union Order of Merit (LGUOM)
  • Full Irish Senior International for a minimum of 2 years
  • Selected on Great Britain and Ireland, Curtis Cup, Vagliano Trophy or 5 NationsTeam 
  • Top 5 in the Ladies Order of Merit for 2 consecutive years
  • Winner or runner up in the Irish Women’s Close or Open Stroke play Championships
  • In exceptional circumstances, success in major International Events may be considered where the applicant does not meet the above criteria. 

Three - Five Year Rule 

Notwithstanding any other part of the rules of the Scheme, the Team Ireland Golf Committee may, on a case-by-case basis, review the eligibility of players who have for a cumulative period of three to five years, received financial and/or other support from the Scheme pursuant to the terms of the Scheme. The purpose of the review is to determine whether financial and/or other support will continue to be made available to such players. In conducting such a review, the Team Ireland Golf Committee will consider the player’s:

  • progression within professional golf and within the Team Ireland Golf over the last three to five years 
  • Current playing status as a professional golfer
  • Ability to progress in professional tour golf over the coming years