(via Golfweek) Omar Uresti is a lightning rod for controversy, despite not breaking any rules.
He earned his spot into the field by winning the PGA Professional Championship, making him one of 20 club pros at Quail Hollow. But that’s the rub.
“They keep saying ‘club pro,’ and he’s the furthest thing from a club pro,” said Darrell Fuston, the director of golf at the Woodlands (Texas) Country Club and a member of the board of directors at the Southern Texas Section of the PGA of America.
Regardless, Uresti’s entry into the club pro category has caused a stir in the community. Uresti has taught junior golfers and helped out with First Tee fundraisers, but he is not a club professional anywhere.
He’s heard critics almost from the beginning. Uresti started competing in Southern Texas Section events in 2014, and after an early win got chastised by a section member for taking a spot from a working club pro.
This is one of the most interesting stories that I came across this week: Omar Uresti, one of the PGA club pros who qualified (and made the cut) at the PGA Championship, really isn’t a PGA club professional at all. Uresti was a player on the PGA tour for a few years, but like many of us out there, the dream ultimately came to an end. So, he decided what many former pros do and become a PGA professional. However, as said above, he doesn’t really fit into that category. Though he does teach golf lessons, he actually isn’t employed by the club and plays on mini tours instead.
But that’s not the biggest gripe that people have. Because Uresti won the PGA Professional Championship event held in June, Uresti now gets exemptions into 6 PGA Tour events from June until next June. Think about that: a guy who doesn’t hold a PGA Professionals job just won a PGA club pro tournament and now gets to try and go back out on tour for a few starts. When I see this and put myself into one of those club pro’s shoes, I would also be less than pleased. After all, club pros do a lot of good for their club and mean a lot to their communities, and it seems Uresti is just skipping over that part and using some loopholes to get one last shot on tour.
But the biggest issue isn’t Uresti, it’s the PGA loopholes. THE PGA of America allows him to play in these tournaments, and so he takes full advantage of it. And honestly, how can you blame him? If he wants to chase the tour dream, by all means hats off to him. He also stated that he is going to go and play on the Champions tour when he turns 50 next year, so it seems as though this problem is short lived.
The only true issue that I have with this little conundrum is if it becomes a more mainstream thing. If some low-level PGA or Web guy just says screw it and starts doing this model, then it could become a big problem very fast. Hopefully, this is the last time we will have to deal with this type of problem and can put it to bed when Uresti is playing on the Champions tour next year. Who knows, maybe he’ll make a cut or two and turn his career around?