Hometown: Herzliya, Israel
Current Residence: Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Home Course: Forest Lake Golf Course
Big Break Indian Wells Competitor (2011, eliminated sixth)
- Top-ranked professional golfer in Israel
- Four-time Israel Open Champion, including 2012 champion
- Multi-time participant in the World Cup representing Israel
- Current PGA of Europe member
- Several mini-tour victories in his 17-year career.
- Decorated three-year member of the Israel Military. Awarded several medals and honors.
Since Big Break Indian Wells…
Competing on Big Break Indian Wells was one of the more rewarding and influential experiences in Oren Geri’s career. The sixth player eliminated from the series, Oren overhauled his golf game and his mental approach after the series. His new mental approach helped him handle and overcome the devastating loss of his father in 2012.
“Last year was a very difficult time for me, but I have to be honest, my outlook on life took such a dramatic shift after Big Break Indian Wells,” said Oren. “I learned to appreciate life and appreciate golf, and not take either for granted. That helped me come to terms with my dad.”
Oren spent the majority of the past two years traveling back and forth to Israel, balancing his tournament schedule to make frequent visits to see his family. During this time, he re-evaluated his goals on the golf course and embarked on a major attitude adjustment. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the game and the emotional grind and toll of the mini tours, he now cherishes how lucky he is to be playing the game he loves every day.
“Although my career has been mediocre at best with my childhood dreams not yet met, I realize that what most people save up to go do on a vacation, I get to do every day,” said Oren. “I never looked at it that way, and it has helped me on the course.”
Oren solidified his position as the top-ranked professional in Israel by winning the Israel Open Pro Division for a record fourth time in 2012. He also will be competing in the Maccabiah Games – Oren likens it to the Jewish Olympics – this year and also will be representing Israel in an effort to qualify for the World Cup of Golf in November. He continues to play on the mini-tour circuit in the U.S. and also European PGA Section events when he is overseas. He also enjoys giving the occasional lesson and playing Pro Am and charity events.
“I really appreciate the friendships created by that aspect of my career,” said Oren.
Part of Oren’s new focus also is on living and eating healthier, as he realizes the guys coming up now are better and stronger athletes.
“I’m a different person from who I was on Big Break Indian Wells,” said Oren. “I can’t wait to put my skills to action on this next Big Break.”
OREN GERI BIG BREAK INDIAN WELLS BIO
One of the top amateur golfers from Israel, Oren Geri’s success in his native country has not translated to success in the U.S. like he had hoped.
The top-ranked junior and men’s golfer in Israel at age 16, Oren has been playing the sport since age three. By the time he was 18 and finished high school, Oren had multiple scholarship offers to play at several large Division I Universities in the U.S, including the University of Tennessee and San Diego State University. As an Israeli citizen, Oren had a duty to his country first. He enlisted in the Israeli Military, where he was a decorated soldier for three years and was awarded several medals and honors.
At age 21, following his completion of military service, he started to rebuild his golf game. When he realized his collegiate scholarship offers were no longer in existence, Oren turned professional and moved to the U.S. He has an impressive resume – three-time winner of the Israel Open, multi-time participant in the World Cup representing Israel and multiple victories on the mini tours. Among his closest friends and regular playing partners are PGA TOUR veterans. However, he admits that he could never break through to the next level.
“Life on the mini-tours is all about ‘survival,’ said Oren, who has competed on the various mini-tour circuits for the past 15 years. “You hear stories all the time on the road about what the pros do to make ends meet.”
That is what separates Oren from the pack. In addition to working various odd-jobs, including working at pro shops as a club fitter and as a professional caddy, Oren never shies away from a bet and is always looking for some “action.”
“I am always looking for a competitive (money) game because it keeps me sharp when I am not on the road competing, and it lets me know if my work on my game has been effective.
“I’m now at a crossroads in my life, but I don’t want to give up my dream,” said Oren. “This opportunity, to compete on Big Break, could be my next step in realizing my dream.”
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