Peter Uihlein may be the first U.S. golfer to win the European Tour’s rookie of the year award, but the 24-year-old scion of the Massachusetts Acushnet Uihleins was far more apprehensive about how Bill Belichick’s AC would fare on Monday Night Football than on his own history-making feat. With good reason, as it turned out.
Learning from Lee Westwood via Twitter about the honor he garnered after a highly successful season overseas, Uihlein was unfazed by the accolade. Indeed, No. 14 in the just completed Race to Dubai engaged in a bit of online banter with his travel companion, an obvious fan of Cam Newton's Carolina team that hosted AFC East-leading New England in a high-powered showdown on ESPN.
May I be the first to congratulate @PeterUihlein on rookie of the year as I'm sat next to him on a plane and he had no idea! Joyoftwitter!— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) November 18, 2013
@WestwoodLee I'm more focused on Tom Brady doing work against Cam newton!!— Peter Uihlein (@PeterUihlein) November 18, 2013
@PeterUihlein I have all my faith in cam and the panthers later. Just hope I can stay awake!— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) November 18, 2013
Uihlein, who turned professional at the end of 2011 after a superlative amateur career, earned his Euro Tour playing card for this year and quickly reaped the benefits. He chalked up four top-20 finishes in his first five outings.
Full playing privileges came with Uihlein’s first victory, at the Madeira Islands Open in May, after which he proceeded to post T10 outcomes in the BMW International Open and Scottish Open. Uihlein was runner-up at the ISPA Handa Wales Open and at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where he just missed scoring the first 59 in Euro Tour history.
His 12-under 60 at St. Andrews spurred the Oklahoma State grad into a share of the 72-hole lead. He lost to David Howell on the second hole of overtime but continued his torrid rookie pace with a T5 in the first of four season-ending Race to Dubai events, the BMW Masters.
"I wasn’t expecting [to win rookie of the year honors] but it’s been a great year and I’m very pleased. I think I’m the first non-European to win it, so that’s a great honor. Any time you’re the first of anything, it’s neat," the world’s top amateur in 2010 said in a statement.
"I was supposed to start the year on the Challenge Tour, but instead I was 11th in The Race to Dubai heading into the final event," Uihlein added. "It wasn’t what I’d planned on but obviously it’s fantastic the way it has worked out."
As for Brady's Flying Elvises, well, there's always next week.