Alabama’s Cauley to turn pro after season

Alabama junior Bud Cauley

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Bye, Bud.

That’s what coach Jay Seawell and the Alabama Crimson Tide will be saying to Bud Cauley when the college golf season comes to an end.

Cauley, a junior and two-time second-team All-American, confirmed to Golfweek on March 10 that he will forgo his senior year at Alabama and turn professional.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Cauley told Golfweek. “I love it here at Alabama, but I think the time is right for me. My dream has always been to play pro golf. I thought about it last year, but decided my game was not ready. Now I feel it is, and it’s time to take that next step.”

Cauley was a member of the victorious 2009 U.S. Walker Cup team and posted a 3-1 record in the competition at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania. He also attended a U.S. Walker Cup practice session in January in Florida and said the idea of playing on another Walker Cup team made his decision to turn pro that much more difficult.

“It was such an honor and such a great feeling to be part of the last Walker Cup team,” Cauley said. “To represent your country is something very special. While that played a huge part in my decision making, I still felt overall this (pro) is the right thing for me to do.”

Seawell said that though he hates to lose his star player, he supports Cauley's decision.

“Don’t get me wrong; I’d love for Bud to be here all four years. Heck, I’d love for him to stay 20 years, if that was possible,” Seawell said. “But this (pro) is what he wants to do for the rest of his life, and I support him fully. He feels he’s ready, and so do I. I think he has a very bright future in front of him.”

Cauley, of Jacksonville, Fla., said he is evaluating his options for when he does turn pro, regarding an agent or looking for an endorsement deal with a club manufacturer (although he said he has pretty much played Titleist all his life). He also has sent out a few letters in hopes of landing some sponsor exemptions into PGA or Nationwide tour events this summer and fall.

“Right now, my main focus is on school and our team this season,” said Cauley, who is No. 15 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings for the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide. He earned his fourth career college title March 8 with a five-shot victory at the Palmetto Invitational in Aiken, S.C. “We have some very good players on this team and have been doing very well, so far. My main goal right now is to do what I can to have us have success.”

Cauley said he plans to go through U.S. Open qualifying. He would be an amateur in the local stage, and if he were to advance, he could turn pro for the sectional stage, which will be immediately after the NCAA Championship.

If he were to make it through both qualifiers, he would make his pro debut in mid-June at the U.S. Open.

“Now that would be the best-case scenario,” he said. “How great would that be?”

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