Uihlein another Koepka pal to keep an eye on, Snedeker turns the tables and back to the future at Oak Hill
Peter Uihlein’s recent performances are something to pay continued attention to. It wasn’t long ago that Uihlein was trying to find his way, sharing a house in Florida and traveling the European Tour with Brooks Koepka, the 2017 U.S. Open champion. But it’s not that he needed some type of inspiration from Koepka’s Erin Hills win. Uihlein, who turns 28 in August, was already starting to play with the confidence he showed while winning the U.S. Amateur in 2010 and the Sir Henry Cotton Award for European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2013. Healed from wrist surgery in early 2016, Uihlein recorded his fourth top-10 of the year with a second-place finish in the HNA Open de France, moving into the top 100 in the World Ranking for the first time since 2014. Uihlein did this with birdies on four of his last eight holes at Le Golf National outside Paris to finish one stroke back of Europe’s hottest golfer, Tommy Fleetwood. “Just glad I made him earn the victory on the back,” Uihlein texted. One of the bonuses, besides the confidence boost, is that it earned Uihlein a spot in the field at Royal Birkdale with the event being part of the Open Qualifying Series. “The thing I liked this morning is he looked so relaxed and comfortable in that position, never out of sync,” said swing consultant Butch Harmon, who has handed Uihlein off to Justin Parsons for day-to-day maintenance at his school of golf in Dubai. “In the past he’s gotten real nervous in those situations and hasn’t delivered. Today he looked so comfortable with a chance to win. I think we’re finally seeing the maturity of Peter Uihlein. He didn’t lose. Fleetwood just won.”
Brandt Snedeker be part of another trophy presentation this weekend, although one far different from the eight on the PGA Tour in which he’s been on the receiving end of the hardware. Sunday at Nashville Golf & Athletic Club, Snedeker was presented Lanto Griffin a guitar for winning the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation. It was actually Snedeker’s two victories on the Web.com Tour that inspired the Nashville native and Vanderbilt grad into hosting his hometown event. Unable to get through the second stage of qualifying school, the Web.com opened the door to Snedeker’s PGA Tour career, which includes a FedEx Cup victory in 2012. “It was so far kind of off my radar when I was these guys age, doing something like this,” said Snedeker of being connected with a pro tournament. “But now that it’s happened, I realize how important those two years I spent out here was and how it trained me to be a better golfer, be a better player and be a better person.” In doing so, Snedeker did more than just put his name on a Web.com event. He established a precedent that other PGA Tour pros should follow by remembering where they came from. The relationship was put together in May, through a connection with tournament director Patrick Nichols, who knew Snedeker when he was playing the Web.com from 2004-’06. “These guys need opportunities,” Snedeker said. “I’m excited to help get them a little bump in their career to help them get where they want to be.”
David Cannon/Getty Images
That 69 percent of the membership at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., voted to restore its East Course to the vintage 1925 Donald Ross design. With the club contracted with the PGA of America to host two major championships in the the next six years, Andrew Green will be handling the changes to holes that had previously been redesigned by Tom Fazio and Robert Trent Jones III. Green will have tour player input from Rochester native Jeff Sluman, the 1988 PGA champion. Ground breaking will take place just after the club hosts the Senior PGA Championship in 2019. “The history of the place is incredible and the documentation spectacular,” said Green, who is also handling a Ross restoration at Inverness. “We’ve got a nice set of documents to work off of.” The timetable for restoration is expected to have the course open for members by Memorial Day 2020, and completely grown in by 2023, when the club hosts its fourth PGA Championship, the last won by Jason Dufner in 2013. If there’s concern about Oak Hill’s readiness for the 2023 PGA, particularly if the PGA of America goes ahead with a proposal to move the dates of the major from August to May, it’s not over course conditions but whether the weather in upstate New York could create problems during the 100-day build out of the infrastructure required to host a major.