From the Associated Press
Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein is turning pro and is willing to travel.
In a decision that reflects the changing nature of a global game, Uihlein announced Monday he would not return for his final semester at Oklahoma State and will begin his career exclusively on the European Tour, not only through sponsor exemptions but even on Europe’s second-tier Challenge Tour.
Uihlein, one of America’s top prospects, signed with Chubby Chandler of British-based International Sports Management, joining a stable that includes Lee Westwood, British Open champion Darren Clarke and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
The idea of turning pro in January was to give the 22-year-old Uihlein – who captured the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay Golf Course – an entire year to try to earn full status on a major tour. What makes this decision unusual was an American starting off in Europe.
“There has been a great list of players who cut their teeth in Europe,” Uihlein said, mentioning Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Schwartzel. “They all started in Europe and gained great experience by playing different courses. It’s a new challenge.”
Uihlein will make his pro debut against the best. He is to play Jan. 26-29 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, a tournament that boasts one of the strongest fields of the year with defending champion Martin Kaymer, world No. 1 Luke Donald, McIlroy, Westwood and Tiger Woods.
He also is expected to play in the Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic, and possibly the Avantha Masters in India.