ANY lingering doubts as to whether the outstanding Englishman Tom Lewis had made the right decision in turning pro at just 20 years of age were utterly dispelled by his thrilling maiden tournament victory at the Portugal Masters on Sunday.
At the time I was fully supportive of the move he made having been suitably impressed by the way he conducted himself at The Open and I liked what I saw from him at the Walker Cup subsequently.
After that there really was nowhere left for him to go in the amateur game and although the timing meant he was likely to have to earn his keep on the Tour school, by winning in Vilamoura it’s no exaggeration to say he’s hit the jackpot.
It would have been no bad thing for him to learn his profession out of the media spotlight but from what I’ve seen he’s got the temperament and the talent to cope with the attention he will now attract.
Furthermore, although he’s propelled himself to super stardom and will have to cope with everything that accompanies that, in reality he’s already lifted an enormous amount of pressure from his shoulders by securing his European Tour status for the next two years. That will provide him with tremendous peace of mind and allow him to play his natural game.
In terms of his performance in Portugal you can’t describe it as anything less than extraordinary. This was by no means a run of the mill end of year tournament with the likes of Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer competing alongside him.
He managed to birdie five of the last seven holes which showcased a real attacking intent and a winner’s mentality. Getting that first victory under his belt so early is a stunning achievement and you’ve only got to look at how long it took the likes of Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy – 28 and 38 tournaments respectively – to win their first titles to understand just what this young man has accomplished.
Nobody has announced their arrival on Tour in such a dramatic fashion previously – even Tiger Woods took five goes at it to win a tournament – and I really think we are dealing with a superstar.
On a more sombre note I was saddened to learn of the death of Scottish golf coach Adam Hunter at the age of just 48. He was a lovely guy who helped a lot of Scottish golfers down the years and he’ll be sadly missed.