EXCITEMENT is building in Kinsale as the golf club and the community look forward to watching John Murphy compete in the Walker Cup this weekend.
Murphy will become just the fifth Cork golfer to take part in the Walker Cup after the Kentucky based golfer was selected on the team last month.
Although many would have liked to travel to Seminole in Florida, not even his family or his coach were able to travel.
That didn’t stop the Officers of Kinsale Golf Club from celebrating closer to home.
The club unveiled a Walker Cup flag last Sunday, a nice gesture to connect the members with their star player in Florida.
Watch by John’s parents Owen and Carmel, his sister Faye raised the flag in front of the clubhouse, and next week the Walker Cup pin flags will feature on a few holes.
Kinsale President Eugene O’Callaghan, Lady Captain Mary O’Hare and Captain Donal Bollard were on hand to mark the occasion on Sunday, and with the course full it was a great way to mark the end of the first week back to golf.
While everyone is stuck at home, the Captain was delighted the club could mark John’s selection.
“We are beyond proud and happy, it’s a significant step forward in John’s career, whom I’m sure will go from strength to strength,” said Donal.
“It’s a massive boost to the club and junior section. He’s such an inspiration to all members but particularly to the juniors, not only in his hard work and dedication but in the manner he carries himself on and off the course.”
While everyone is delighted the John was selected, there was a huge disappointment that Covid 19 restrictions means that travelling to the US isn’t possible.
Donal along with many others will have to be happy with watching on Sky Sports.
“It’s a huge disappointment, not only to me as captain but for all those who know John and have part of his development.
"We are lucky enough to have a few members living in America who will be there to support John on our behalf.
"It’s hard to put a number on how many would have gone, John is well liked, not only within the club the whole community, I would have thought you’d have in the region of 150 or even more.”
His family had the same thoughts with Carmel, Owen and Faye prevented from travelling under the current restrictions.
“We’re devastated that we can’t travel with the current restrictions,” said Carmel.
"However, the most important thing it that John will be there. He’s relishing the opportunity and really appreciates his selection on the team.”
As for the man himself, he’s now in Florida after a few busy weeks.
After competing in the ACC Championship in Georgia, Murphy had been in Kentucky for the past week and travelled to Florida on Saturday.
He’s spent the past few days practicing on the course and getting ready for the competition which starts on Saturday.
“Yeah it’s just great to be down here with the team, and I’m ready to have a very enjoyable week,” said Murphy.
“I love the course and I love the atmosphere around Seminole, and it’s going to be an incredible venue.
"It should make for some great viewing.”
Murphy is the fifth Cork golfer to be selected on a Walker Cup team, and the first Kinsale golfer.
James Sugrue was selected in 2019, Eoghan O’Connell was part of the first GB&I team to win in the US in 1989, during which he halved a singles match with Phil Mickelson.
John McHenry played in 1987, and Jimmy Bruen played in three Walker Cups, and helped GB&I to their first ever win in 1938.
The Kinsale man has joined an elite group, and while there are talks that a trip to the professional ranks may follow later this summer, he’s fully focused on Seminole.
“It’s certainly come around very quick. This whole year just seems to be zipping by, so I’m trying to stay in the moment as much as I can.
"I am going to try stay as present as possible this week and take in everything about the Walker Cup.”
John isn’t too worried about his place in history for the moment, a month ago he was delighted to be selected after missing out in 2019.
He was named on training panel at that stage but missed the cut for the final team.
He returned to Kentucky in August and after a strong autumn and a good start to 2021 he was in a strong position to nail down a place for this year.
Good performances in March did his chances no harm but he was still delighted to get the call confirming his selection.
On the course the GB&I team are up against it, the US has a very strong side and their high WAGR rankings have them installed as favourites to retain the trophy.
Needless to say Murphy is ready to take on whoever he’s up against.
The four time US winner has seen plenty of the course in Seminole over the last few months and he’s itching to get going.
“I’m certainly excited to take on a very strong US side.
"We know nothing with regards to partners or anything yet, but what I do know is that the whole GB&I team will be ready to go at 8:20 on Saturday morning.
"Everybody on the team is confident in their ability to go toe to toe with anybody, so I will be very excited to get on that tee box and give it everything I have and do my part for the team.”