Uihlein headed back to school; Walker Cup teammates turning pro


For the members of the U.S. Walker Cup team there is not much time to lament the squad’s 14-12 loss to Great Britain & Ireland this weekend in Scotland. Some, like Harris English and Russell Henley have professional careers to prepare for, while others like Peter Uihlein and Patrick Cantlay are headed back to college.

English has a press conference scheduled for Tuesday in Tennessee announcing his plans to turn pro and will make his debut next week at the Soboda Golf Classic as a Nationwide Tour member via his victory at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational in July.

According to several sources, Henley also will join the play-for-pay set in the coming days, although he will not have Nationwide Tour status because his victory on the secondary circuit came earlier this summer, outside the 60-day window in which to accept membership.

U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, who has also run out of college eligibility (SMU), will likely maintain his amateur status in order to accept an invitation into next year’s Masters.

Although Uihlein intends to finish his senior season at Oklahoma State, last year’s U.S. Amateur champion plans to play the second stage of both PGA Tour and European Tour Q-Schools this fall.

“Oklahoma State starts early so they end the fall semester earlier, Dec. 1, first week of December. At the same time, because of his world (amateur) ranking top 10 that gets you exempt to second stage in Europe and making the cut (at the Open Championship) gets you exempt to second stage in the United States,” said Peter Uihlein’s father, Wally.

Amateurs can participate in both Q-Schools but must turn pro or decline a Tour card shortly after the tournament ends, a decision Uihlein has already made.

“He said, ‘Well, what do I do if I get to final stage?’ You know, lightning in a bottle, again, it’s the week after you’re out of class, so you wouldn’t be missing anything,” Wally Uihlein reasoned. “I asked him what he would do if he got his card and he said, ‘I’m going back to school, I’ve made my commitment.’ That’s a great story.”