Omar Uresti earned an invitation to this year’s PGA Championship, when he won last week’s PGA Professional Championship, an annual event that awards 20 spots into the PGA Tour’s final major of the year.
Uresti’s win, however, was largely met with criticism, as a number of professionals believe that Uresti’s inclusion violates the spirit of the tournament, as he is a 20-year PGA Tour veteran who has never held a job as a club and/or teaching professional.
Uresti, who also received exemptions to five other PGA Tour events over the next year, defended his position on Monday. He was sympathetic towards the critics, but still called the negative press “disappointing,” as he believes he has a legitimate claim to the victory.
- What Happened: Omar Uresti, a 20-year Tour veteran, with 356 career starts, was granted a “Class A Membership” to the PGA of America, which allowed him to qualify for the PGA Professional Championship. He won the event by one stroke, granting him a spot at this year’s PGA Championship, a move that was met with criticism by some of his peers.
- The Defense: Uresti responded to the criticism on Monday by pointing out that most are not aware of what he does “on the side.” Uresti said that even though he is not a “full-time shop guy”, he teaches some kids and juniors, and gives free pointers at his home course. Uresti also pointed out his years of playing in pro-ams and fundraisers.
- PGA Supports: Uresti also pointed out that he was not the only former Tour player at the PGA Professional. The PGA has firmly supported him so far in this matter.
“I know how much a lot of the guys in the shops work, how much time a lot of them put in, and respect them for that. They don’t have the time to put into the game that they’d like. At the same time there were a lot of former touring players that were at this tournament. I walked out onto the range the first practice-round day and thought, this could almost be a Web.com Tournament from the mid ‘90s.”