ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Peter Uihlein decided to play in India this week rather than Abu Dhabi to give himself an easier start to his professional career, according to his manager Andrew “Chubby” Chandler.
Uihlein was supposed to make his professional debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship but Chandler advised him to play in India instead, in the Gujarat Kensville Challenge at Kensville Golf & Country Club in Ahmadabad, the opening event of the 2012 European Challenge Tour.
The 2010 U.S. Amateur champion will make his full European Tour debut in next week’s Commercialbank Qatar Masters in Doha.
“We changed tact because Abu Dhabi is such a strong event,” Chandler said. “He’s trying to get his card on the Challenge Tour so it made sense to start him in India. When you look at this field (Abu Dhabi), with six of the world’s top 10 players and Tiger (Woods), he’d have to play like hell to finish 40th. So it made sense to play him in India instead.”
Chandler feels that starting in India will help Uihlein adapt quickly to the European Tour.
“In a funny sort of way, playing in India should help get him ready for the European Tour. It’s such a huge culture shock to go there that going to Qatar next week should be easier.”
Uihlein will also play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the week after Qatar. He should be going back to India to play in the Avantha Masters in New Delhi the week after Dubai, although Chandler hasn’t got a firm commitment from the sponsor on that yet.
After that, Uihlein is scheduled to make his professional debut on the PGA Tour in the Puerto Rico Open March 8-11. He returns to the European Tour to play in the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco March 22-25. Chandler is hopeful that Uihlein’s second Challenge Tour start will come in the Barclays Kenya Open a week later, although that isn’t confirmed yet either.
The former Oklahoma State player then has a three-week stint in the Maybank Malaysian Open the week after the Masters, the Volvo China Open and the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea for his seventh and final European Tour invite.
Uihlein needs to make just over €260,000 from those seven events, the equivalent of last place money on the 2011 European money list, to play a full European season. If not, he will concentrate on trying to get his European Tour card through the Challenge Tour.
“I want to get him his seven invites on the main tour early,” Chandler said. “Then if he doesn’t get his card for the main tour that way he has the rest of the season to concentrate on playing the Challenge Tour.”