Three young players who decided to test the waters of professional golf are having mixed results in 2013.
Peter Uihlein was born and raised around golf. His father is the CEO of Acushnet Company, which owns Titleist and FootJoy among its brands.
Uihlein attended Oklahoma State, and while there won the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay on his 21st birthday. He became the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world and was 4-0 in the 2009 Walker Cup matches.
He was a first-team All-American in 2011 and won the prestigious Ben Hogan Award given to the best collegiate golfer in the nation.
He unsuccessfully tried to earn a tour card at both the European and PGA Tours’ Q-Schools at the end of 2011. He decided to take his golf clubs to Europe and became a member of the Challenge Tour.
In 15 Challenge Tour events in 2012, he made 13 cuts and earned €61,000.
In May 2013, he won a jointly sanctioned Challenge Tour and European Tour event—the Madeira Islands Open in Portugal. The win gave him a full exemption on the European Tour, and he is now ranked No. 42 in the Race to Dubai and No. 121 on the Official World Golf Rankings.
He finished tied for 12th in the BMW PGA Championship and tied for 10th in the BMW International. Just last week, he finished tied for 32nd in the Irish Open.
Peter Uihlein is moving up the international rankings, and we will soon be seeing him full time on the PGA Tour.
Jordan Spieth left the University of Texas last fall to pursue his dream of victory on the PGA Tour.
His first taste of the tour came at the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship while he was still just 16-years-old. He finished tied for 16th in that event and knew that he had the game to compete with the big boys.
Spieth was a standout performer at the University of Texas. He won three events, helped his team win the NCAA Division I Championship and was a first-team All-American.
Deciding to turn professional at the end of 2012, Spieth had no official status on any professional tour. He was forced to play on sponsor’s exemptions and try to earn enough to gain PGA Tour membership.
It only took him three starts to finish runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open in March to gain Special Temporary membership status on tour. He has added five top-10 finishes in just 14 starts and has earned $1.1 million.
Spieth is still just 19 years old and will become a full-fledged PGA Tour member next year.
Patrick Cantlay had a phenomenal summer in 2011. He started out by winning the low-amateur honors at the 2011 U.S. Open held at Congressional Country Club. The very next week, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, he posted a 60, the lowest round ever recorded by an amateur on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship.
He followed those accomplishments with low-amateur honors at the AT&T National and a win at the Southern California Amateur, and he came back out on the PGA Tour to finish ninth at the RBC Canadian Open.
He did have one minor disappointment in 2011. He lost in the finals of the 2011 U.S. Amateur to Kelly Kraft. His runner-up finish gave him an exemption into the 2012 Masters Tournament, which wasn't a bad consolation prize.
Cantlay was the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world for 55 weeks prior to his decision to join the professional ranks in June 2012.
After joining the professionals, he missed his first cut at the 2012 Travelers but cashed checks with a finish tied for 66th at the AT&T National and tied for 38th at the Greenbrier.
He came up short of enough earnings to gain full membership to the PGA Tour for 2013 and has played primarily on the Web.com Tour this year.
He won the Colombia Championship in March on that tour and is currently No. 11 in the top 25. The top 25 on the Web.com Tour earn automatic PGA Tour cards for the next year.
Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth and Peter Uihlein are three golfers you will be hearing much more from over the next few years on the PGA Tour.
All three young men are very talented, and all have the tools to succeed.