Looks, personality, charisma - the teenager with it all turns professional

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The Independent Online

The news may have raised more than a few harrumphs in the amateur ranks but Oliver Fisher was merely bowing to the inevitable yesterday when announcing that he is to become a professional and so turn his incredible potential into pound coins.

Last week, the 18-year-old from Essex became the youngest Briton ever to earn his full European Tour card at the arduous qualifying school in Spain and on doing so sparked a mad rush for his signature.

In a glitzy unveiling in London, the lucky winners were revealed as Nike - the main sponsor of the world No 1, Tiger Woods - and the management group, IMG, who were unashamed in gloating about their new "product".

"Oliver's outstanding amateur record has established him as one of the world's best young golfers," said an IMG spokesman, Guy Kinnings. "He has the looks, personality and charisma to become one of the most sought-after properties in golf."

Fisher's rise has already threatened to refine the spectacular. From being a nine-year-old who received free lessons on a driving range in Chigwell, Fisher developed into a teenager who made history as the youngest golfer to play in the Walker Cup in Chicago 15 months ago.

The then 16-year-old had been expected to attend an American college and make his second appearance in the biennial tussle with the United States at Royal County Down next year but the lure of the big time has evidently proved too great.

"Having won through in San Roque, after 14 rounds of qualification, there was no question of me not turning pro," he admitted. "There was no decision to make. I've always dreamt of playing on tour and what happened at San Roque told me I was ready for it."

The golfing world will not have to wait too long to discover whether he is or not. Fisher is due to make his professional debut at next month's Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

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