While The 150th Open at St Andrews was special on a number of levels last month, it held added significance for the Polish Golf Union.
After Adrian Meronk became Poland's first winner on the DP World Tour with his victory in the Horizon Irish Open in July, the 29-year-old then became the first-ever Polish professional to tee up in The Open.
Finishing just outside the top-40 after four rounds on the Old Course, Meronk held his head high and is now placed 59th in the Official World Golf Ranking. For a country not always associated with golf, Meronk is attracting attention and acting as a role model for others in Poland.
“Everyone back home in Poland is quite excited," said Meronk of his debut appearance. "It’s part of my job to grow the game. The more I play in these big events, the more people will watch.”
“It was an enormous success for Polish golf,” continues Bartłomiej Chełmecki, General Secretary of the Polish Golf Union, of Meronk’s Open debut at the home of golf. “All of our members’ eyes have been set on Adrian’s performances on the DP World Tour, but his start in The Open was something exceptional.
“With his debut in the Olympics, playing in last year’s US Open, and his current high-profile finishes in DP World Tour events, there has been a steady increase in media attention. Our community is really excited about Adrian’s results.”
Challenge Tour win
Meronk’s successful summer built on the Challenge Tour success of Mateusz Gradecki, sealing his maiden win on the circuit in April at the Limpopo Championship. The 27-year-old became only the second Polish winner on the Tour following Meronk’s victory at the Open de Portugal in 2019.
“Adrian and Mateusz are blazing a trail,” continues Bartłomiej. “They are two key names representing Polish golf in the professional arena. They are followed by a brave young generation as we now have a number of national team members who are studying in the USA and playing in the NCAA Division I. These include women like Alejandro Pedryc and Dorota Zalewska. Certainly, within a few years, they and other Poles will start competing in professional championships.”
Poland’s success hasn’t just come overnight, they are building their youth programmes and bringing more young people into the sport as part of a long-term plan.