Making it in professional golf is difficult under the best of circumstances.
But it’s impossible without the opportunity to play tournaments that count.
Deerfield native Vince India, a former Big Ten Player of the Year for Iowa, will get an opportunity next month after the Rust-Oleum Championship awarded him a sponsor exemption to compete in the Web.com Tour event, June 4-10, at Ivanhoe Club.
Needless to say, India is thrilled.
“The more reps you can get under pressure the better,” said India, who has limited status on the Web.com Tour.
Tournament director Scott Cassin pointed to Rust-Oleum’s oft-stated goal of using its sponsor exemptions to assist local players who dream of competing on the PGA TOUR.
“Vince India is the kind of accomplished local player who Rust-Oleum traditionally has supported by awarding a sponsor exemption,” Cassin said. “No one is more deserving than Vince.”
Last week, India, 29, led the five-round BMW Charity Pro-Am after an opening round of 63. Two subsequent rounds in the mid-70s in the celebrity event saw him miss the cut. Nevertheless, Round 1 gave him hope.
“I know I have the ability to shoot low numbers,” India said. “But the 72s and 74s need to be 69s and 71s. I have to minimize mistakes. It’s a matter of me getting out of my own way.”
Last year, India became involved with one of the Rust-Oleum Championship’s core charities, the Sports Shed, a non-profit that donates sports equipment to after-school programs in the City of Chicago. India donated some of his own golf equipment to the organization, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for the cause. This year, the Sports Shed has worked to collect equipment from other PGA Tour players for an even bigger auction with a goal of raising $100,000.
A product of The First Tee Program, India said he appreciates both the need and the lifelong benefits that golf can offer to young people.
“The game of golf can teach a lot of life lessons and can help people grow as human beings,” India said. “One of the hardest parts of golf is the upfront costs of equipment. The Sports Shed is a phenomenal organization and I’m proud to be a part of it.”