posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 07:11 AM
A spectacular recovery from glandular fever has given England's Lee Slattery the chance to shine on the European Tour next season. The 26-year-old
from Southport, 206th on the 'second division' Challenge Tour in 2003, finished top of it this year. And did it from just 11 tournaments.
Slattery turned professional in 1998, but hopes of an easy transition onto the main circuit were dashed when he was struck down by illness. It left
him without the energy to play golf and he began working in a high street fashion store to pay off debts. After six months behind the till and
stacking shelves, however, he felt well enough to turn his attention back to his dream of being a sports star and, with the help of a local sponsor,
began playing tournaments again.
Quickly notching up two wins on the EuroPro Tour, he was invited to play on the Challenge Tour, had a second place, then a win and during the season
six more top-five finishes.
"It's been a fairytale year," he said. "I came back with a whole new attitude after my time off, determined not to miss any opportunities and it seems
to have worked."
He has signed with the International Management Group which handles Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els - the top three players in the world - so
not surprisingly comments: "I am very excited to be joining the same stable." Manager Brendan Taylor stated: "We are really looking forward to working
with Lee. His achievements this year have been nothing short of incredible and we are confident that he will continue to build on his successes."
Slattery was snapping at the heels of Italy Alessandro Tadini for top spot on the Challenge Tour with one event to go and fifth place in the Grand
Final was good enough to make him number one. His earnings for the year of 95,979 euro - around 65,000 - are dwarfed by the amounts on offer on the
tour proper. What he has to show is that he will not be dwarfed.