Tucson has added another golfer to the PGA Tour.
Former Salpointe Catholic High School and UA star Trevor Werbylo officially earned his PGA Tour card this week after a successful season on the Korn Ferry Tour.
He joins a roster of Tucsonians including Michael Thompson, Rich Barcelo, Willie Wood and Phil Ferranti, among others, to earn PGA Tour status.
Werbylo joined The Star’s Justin Spears on ESPN Tucson’s “Spears and Ali” earlier this week to discuss fulfilling his childhood dream of playing in Tucson, his golf idol – and his views on the LIV Golf Tour funded by Saudi Arabia:
How would you describe your arrival on the PGA Tour?
A: “It’s something I’ve worked extremely hard for. Growing up as a kid, it was a lifelong dream to compete and play on the PGA Tour. For that to happen now is pretty surreal. When I won the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this year, I was about to block my card. I had a pretty good idea that I would be playing on the PGA Tour next year, but finally crossing that threshold is pretty cool. It’s very satisfying.
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You are the first former PGA Tour U player to participate in the circuit; how did this help you?
A: “The PGA Tour U is kind of a whole new system that ranks college golfers coming out. If you’re considered one of the top five college graduates, you automatically get status on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is the tour I’ve been on this year. … It’s a way for players coming out of college who have a direct path to some sort of tour status. … I think it’s cool that they’re doing this now, because all other sports – if you’re a great player in college, you get drafted and there’s a direct path to the pro leagues. It makes sense for golf to do that, and I was lucky that when I left college, it was the first year of the PGA Tour U. To be successful and to be first, that’s pretty cool .
Which classes in Tucson helped you grow the most?
A: “I started playing golf at Randolph and all the courses in town growing up through most of high school. My senior year or two in high school, I was able to get a junior Merrit membership in the Oro Valley Country Club. It had better practice facilities and conditions on the golf course, and it helped me progress in practice. Once I got to the U of A I was playing and training in town so I always saw the best courses in town whether it was Stone Canyon or The Gallery or Tucson Country Club or Ventana Canyon we have seen everything. Playing all these different courses has definitely helped my development as a player. Where it all started were city-to-city classes.”
Which PGA Tour golfer have you seen growing up the most?
A: “Tiger Woods is my all-time idol. I idolized him growing up in the golf world. He’s still the #1 guy I root for, and I still go on YouTube and watch his old highlights. and stuff like that. He’s by far the one who inspired me to play golf, because if it wasn’t for him and all the amazing things he’s done in the game, I doubt I’d be playing in golf now. He’s still the guy I looked up to… He would be the guy I would choose to play with, whether it was the last round of the Masters – that would be a dream pairing for me.
What is your position on LIV Golf?
A: “Yeah, it’s a pretty interesting and bizarre time in professional golf, and we’re still watching it unfold day by day and hour by hour. There’s always news about the players and what the PGA Tour is up to. It’s unfortunate. The LIV Golf Tour is bad for the game of golf. Players who go there, the main reason is money, which is understandable. But the problem I have with that is that the players who go there preach about the growth of the game and all these new opportunities, when the only attraction is that they pay millions and millions of dollars – which I think people can respect more if they were honest and said, “Hey, I’m going here, because they pay me a lot more money.” In terms of fans or watching golf, the uncut, 54-hole shotgun starts – I don’t see this product as worth watching. From this point of view, it is a pity. … It kind of sucks, but it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.”
Contact sports producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or [email protected]. On Twitter: @JustinESports