The recent European Tour heroics of Bernd Wiesberger should provide the catalyst to inspire the next generation of Austrian professionals to global golfing success, but where would be a better place to start than in their native land at this week’s Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda?
Wiesberger’s stunning victory in the Ballantine’s Championship, where the big Austrian overwhelmed a world-class field by five shots, has had a profound effect on many of the young Austrian professionals competing in this week’s €160,000 event at the Golf Club Klagenfurt-Seltenheim in the stunning Carinthia region of south east Austria.
It was not just the fact that Wiesberger made his European Tour breakthrough last month, but the nature of the victory – a five stroke walk in the park over a field that included Open Champion Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott and YE Yang – that has left a deep impression on many of the young players who have played alongside Wiesberger since they were kids.
Jürgen Maurer is just one perfect case in point, having played alongside Weisberger as an amateur at boys, youths and senior level and receiving the same golfing education through the Austrian Golf Federation.
For Maurer, Florian Praegant, Roland Steiner and Uli Weinhandl, as well as Austria’s up and coming young players such as Philipp Fendt, seeing Wiesberger stride to victory in a European Tour event with a prize fund of over €2 million could be a potentially priceless lesson.
“Bernd’s victory in Korea was just huge for all of us,” confirmed Maurer. “It was the way he won it too – to beat all of those players and really win it quite easily has shown all of the guys who played together in that age group what is possible.
“I think every generation needs someone to break out and go and have success before the rest of the guys can follow and that is what Bernd has done for all of us.
“We know him, he is a friend of ours so there is no aura around him or anything like that. We have all played against each other and beaten each other over the years at every level, so his win in Korea tells all of us that we can do that to.
“Obviously it will take an incredible amount of hard work to get there as Bernd has shown, but one of the most important things to have in this game and to succeed at that level is the belief that you can do that, and Bernd has shown us all what is possible.”