SAN DIEGO – Beau Hossler is set to make his first pro start on the PGA Tour this week after undergoing shoulder surgery last summer.
Hossler, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year, tore the labrum in his left shoulder at last year’s NCAA Championship. He began to hit balls again in October, and the only competition he’s had in the past six months was the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational and a pair of mini-tour events on the Adams Pro Tour (one of which he won, on Dec. 9).
“I feel great now. I feel 100 percent,” he said Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “I can do whatever I need to do out of the rough and hit it as hard as I want off the tee. I don’t have any limitations or anything.”
As a non-member, Hossler, 21, is restricted to only seven sponsor exemptions this season. The former Texas star will likely receive all of those invitations by the end of May, but he’d be able to gain special temporary status if he plays well.
Hossler was back in the news last week, after the NCAA announced that it would allow substitutions during the match-play portion of the championship. A year ago, Texas was forced to forfeit Hossler’s point when he was unable to compete in the finals against Oregon. Staked to an early advantage, the Ducks won the national title, 3-2, over the shorthanded Longhorns.
After what happened to Hossler and Texas at NCAAs, there was increased support for the oft-discussed substitution rule, which now will allow a coach to swap out a player for injury, illness or performance reasons. The new rule will be implemented for match play at this year’s NCAAs.
“That’s probably a good idea,” Hossler said. “In match play it just really hurts your team. In stroke play, it’s one guy, and you’re talking about counting hundreds of strokes. But in match play, when you’re down one, if you don’t win three out of the four, you have no chance. It’s a tough deal. That’s probably for the best.”