PGA of America enacts “Omar Uresti Rule” for Professional Club Championship
The PGA of America has announced that it is closing a loophole in its eligibility classifications for the Professional Club Championship, a loophole that has angered some of its members. Call it the rule of Omar Uresti.
The PGA Board of Directors has approved a change in the eligibility classification for the PGA Professional Championship and NCR Assistant Professional Championship that renders its life members ineligible for these competitions.
“The committee is convinced that the PGA Professional Championship is for PGA professionals who work in an active classification,” the PGA said in a statement. “Returning to the standards in place before 2006, when life members were not eligible for the PGA Professional Championship, was seen as the best way to align with the committee’s perspective; however, lifetime members will remain eligible for the PGA Senior Professional Championship.
Uresti, 53, has been vilified on social media and criticized within the club’s professional fraternity for taking advantage of the rules to participate in the championship despite not working full time as a club pro and having obtained one of the coveted exemptions granted to the top 20 finishers in competing in the PGA Championship.
Uresti turned pro in 1991 and played 11 full seasons on the PGA Tour, making 380 starts and earning nearly $ 4 million. Along the way he achieved PGA Class A status by being a member of the PGA Tour for 20 years, but he and others who took advantage of the “Active Life Member” category worked in a non-traditional role. compared to the majority of fields. It became a sensitive topic as Uresti won the title in 2017 and 2021 and also finished in the top 20 to qualify for the PGA Championship in 2015, 2016 and 2018 (the 2020 Championship was canceled due to COVID- 19). Uresti never qualified for the PGA Championship until he used that loophole via the PGA Professional Championship.
The PGA Tournament Committee considered the change in eligibility for last year when reviewing guidelines for the PGA Professional Championship. Prior to the change in eligibility standards, the competition was open to any PGA member who is a Class A PGA Professional and who has made less than 10 starts on professional tours (including development tours and senior tours) over the past 12 months, excluding majors.
These changes will begin with the 2022 Sectional Championships which will advance players to the 2022 NCR PGA Assistant Professional Championship and 2023 PGA Professional Championship. These changes do not affect player eligibility for the 2022 PGA Professional Championship.