Greater Trail golfer Garrett Kucher is ready to take the next big step into the world of professional golf.
After receiving backing from a new sponsor, Kucher will head to Ireland next month to begin his quest for a European Tour card.
A six-figure endorsement by Intraline is good for three years, and Kucher will play in tournaments in Ireland and Scotland before beginning the qualifying Q-school grind.
“This is so cool, because it’s not only a very serious business deal, but it’s a very serious opportunity in a sense that everything that I feel, they feel the same way too,” Kucher told the Times. “It’s a sponsor deal where these guys, Intraline, they realize the opportunity I have and what’s ahead of me and my goals and they believe in it 100-per cent.”
Kucher will compete in the European Tour qualifying school in October, the Asian Tour qualifying school in January, and the McKenzie Tour qualifying school in the spring in an effort to get full status on the respective Tours.
“I’m just trying to get cards everywhere, so I can play,” said Kucher. “You need to go to a qualifying school, but I already have status over in Europe so I can skip pre-qualifying, first-stage type events.”
Kucher returned to Trail for the Rossland-Trail Birchbank Open last week. Time home with family and friends was just what the doctor ordered, and a runner-up finish at the Open wasn’t bad either.
“I consider the RTO a big event, because I’m home and I get to sleep in my own bed,” said Kucher. “I want to win, but if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world, I still get to hang out with my friends and family.”
Kucher has been on the road most of the summer, playing tournaments on the Vancouver Golf Tour and favourite events like Osoyoos’ Rattlesnake Open, the Kelowna Open this weekend, Vancouver Open, and Rossland-Trail Open, an important stop for Kucher, who grew up playing on the Birchbank Golf Course with his grandfather.
Earlier this summer, a serendipitous meeting with the president of Intraline at the Rattlesnake Open laid the groundwork for Kucher’s biggest endorsement. Playing in wet and cold conditions, Kucher finished the tournament with an eagle on 16 and birdie on 17 to win the tournament by five strokes.
“I’ve shot 65 tons of times on that course, but I bet you that 70 was one of the best rounds I’ve played on that course.”
After some more good play and consultation with another former golf professional, the new partners formulated a path to success.
“We all sat down and came up with a plan that I would go to European Tour qualifying school, and every qualifying school I can possibly go to in the next three years, just to get experience, every possibility to play anywhere, at anytime.”
A return to Europe was always in Kucher’s plans, but the deal with Intraline guarantees its sponsorship for three years, and, more important, peace of mind.
Many golfers have chosen the European Tour route over the PGA Tour to get their start, including American golf luminaries Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Kisener, and Xander Schauffle.
Kucher, who has been the ambassador for Predator Ridge Golf and Country Club near Vernon, is confident that a full European card is in the works, and his initiation into the PGA Tour, not too far away.
“I’ve done the time, I’ve done the jitters, I’ve done the not-knowing things, and now I have friends in all different places all over the world. I have connections, I feel I’ve got the game and I’m ready to be in those big moments. I feel like what I’ve set myself up for now is going to help me have those big moments, and a hell of a lot more of them.”
Kucher starts his quest for a European Tour Card at the Q-school in Bom Sucesso, Portugal Oct. 9-12.