There is one member of Team New England I have followed talked about on my Lesson Tee Show and written about over the past few years; Rob Oppenheim of Salem MA. At 36, Rob’s journey to the PGA Tour has taken over 13 years and included several trips to Q School.
Last year, Rob won the Web.com’s Air Capital Classic in Albany New York. Suddenly his dedication was paying off. His first victory had thrust him into contention to achieve his goal. He was inside the top 50 players in earnings and if he finished the season, post play offs, inside that number he automatically would receive PGA Tour playing status.
Playing in the Web.Com Tour Championship last October at TPC Sawgrass in Ponta Vedra Beach Florida, Oppenheim walked off the 72nd green after shooting a final round 67. He had a feeling in his gut that his dream once again would be dashed. He was reasonably sure the sole bogey he’d had on the 4th hole that day would cost him dearly. There was a sense it would keep him from achieving his dream. He had dropped to 51st behind Eric Axley in the Web.com priority rankings.
With the family in tow, pumping gas while looking at the scores on his cell phone outside the Sawgrass venue, he was unaware the priority rankings had changed based on the final score of one Lucas Glover. You see, final earnings included how much was made in the play-offs and Rob had to earn more than Axley if he was to get back inside the top 50 on that priority list and it all came down to Glover’s finish who was still on the course when Rob left the course.
All of a sudden he started getting congratulatory messages from people and when he refreshed the PGATour.com website and saw Glover made bogey at 18 he knew he was back inside the top 50. In fact he was 50th and had nosed Eric Axley by just $101.00. He’d done it! Rob Oppenheim was and is today a member of the PGA Tour.
This week’s Valero Texas Open is Oppenheim’s ninth start of the season. He is ranked 161st in the FedExCup and his best finish is a tie for 20th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
He has work to do to keep the card he’s worked so long to earn. With the love and support of his family along with his drive, if anybody can do it. ‘Opps’ can.