Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein won't be around to help his Oklahoma State University teammates go after an 11th national championship this summer.
In a move that caught a lot of people by surprise, Uihlein announced on Monday that he was going to forego the last semester of his senior year for the chance to turn professional and join the European Tour.
Uihlein said in a statement that he believed it was the right time to turn pro: "I had a great 3 1/2 years at Oklahoma State. The school and the program were great for me, and I believe I contributed to the program's tradition. (But) I wanted to have the full calendar year to start the next chapter in my life and not start midseason. The coaches at Oklahoma State understood my decision."
The decision to turn pro wasn't Uihlein's only big surprise on Monday; he also announced that he'd signed with Chubby Chandler's International Sports Managment Group, which happens to be the same management team that represents Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel.
After unsuccessfully qualifying for the PGA Tour and European Tour earlier this year, most assumed Uihlein would finish his senior year at OSU before giving Q-School another shot. But that's no longer the case.
Without full-time membership, Uihlein will be allowed seven sponsor exemptions on the European Tour, with his first crack at being a professional coming at the high-profile Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
While Uihlein's decision to turn pro isn't surprising -- he held the No. 1 player in amateur golf on five different occasions -- joining ISM and the European Tour seems to have some people scratching their heads.
Most figured Uihlein would likely go after membership on the PGA Tour before he looked at playing abroad, but the chance to get starts and possibly go a different route to professional golf stardom seemed to be enough to sell him on starting his career abroad.
Uihlein will certainly learn alot, and with Chubby Chandler's connections, he should have no trouble getting sponsor's invites going forward. The big question now is if he can make his starts count on the European Tour.