Lewis can be inspired by Rose's $11m rise

 

Tom Lewis makes his professional debut at the Austrian Open today for what will arguably be the most high-profile bow of an English golfer since Justin Rose in 1998. And if the 20-year-old from Welwyn Garden City wants to envisage just how far a boy wonder can rise, he need only look to the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Now 31, Rose is one of the favourites to win the FedEx Cup and a $10m (£6.5m) bonus, which would be the largest cheque received by a British sportsman since Lennox Lewis beat Mike Tyson in 2002. Indeed, if Rose could win the Tour Championship, the climactic event in the PGA Tour's play-off series, he would scoop $11.35m. Not bad for a man who missed his first 21 cuts in the paid ranks.

Rose's victory at last Sunday's BMW Championship in Chicago hurtled him to third in the FedEx Cup, one place above his countryman Luke Donald. And although it's feasible for anyone in the 30-man field to collect the jackpot, only the top five can be sure of doing so if they prevail. The other three – Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar – all happen to be American so there is also national pride at stake for the English duo.

As world No 1, and as the most consistent player on the planet, Donald's chance will be respected. The 33-year-old missed golf's biggest day by a solitary shot last year, when Jim Furyk managed to get up and down from a bunker on the 18th. But Donald is a stronger, more confident performer this time around. "It's never been done before," he pointed out, when asked what it would mean to win both the US and European versions of the Order of Merit. As Donald has the Race to Dubai all but in the bag, this would be huge consolation for remaining majorless – both in terms of finance and prestige.

Rose, however, may just have the edge on the back of his first success in 15 months. He has always been a peaks-and-troughs golfer, as he has proven by clambering his way back into the world's top 30 on four different occasions in a frenetic career. And his purple spell in 2010, when he won twice in three PGA Tour events having fired 161 previous blanks in America, affords him obvious hope.

"Look at last summer," said Rose yesterday. "My game suddenly got hot and I managed to keep it going for a good few weeks. So hopefully I can do more of the same this time around. I spoke last week about having nothing to lose because I hadn't even qualified for this Tour Championship. It's still the same mindset. My thinking is 'just let it ride'."

Rose would give the same advice to Lewis; 5,000 miles away in Atzenbrugg and 13 years apart in experience. Like Rose and his fourth place as an amateur in the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, Lewis shot into the public eye with his own non-paid heroics in the British major. Lewis's 65 in the first round at Sandwich was the best score by amateur in the 151-year history of the tournament and fired up the hype bandwagon.

"I don't know Tom, but it looks like he can handle the pressure, but there's a big difference between being a very good amateur and being a Tour pro," said Rose, who was happy Lewis decided to play the Walker Cup before signing contracts. "I don't really remember that time – it's a bit of a haze. It may be the same for Tom at the moment when you're caught up in everything. He must just enjoy it."

Lewis may not feel he has the time for any enjoyment. He is determined to earn his Tour card by winning the £210,000 he requires in the seven invites he is allowed before the end of the season. "It's a big ask but I can do it," said Lewis, who will tee off this morning with Paul Cutler, the Irishman who also turned pro after the Walker Cup. "After all, Rory [McIlroy] did it a few years back."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital