Thursday Notebook: Brotherly advice and course knowledge at CordeValle

By Bob Denney
Published on
Thursday Notebook: Brotherly advice and course knowledge at CordeValle

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – PGA Life Member Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas, might be making his debut in the PGA Cup, but he has a veteran on his bag. Older brother Rusty has more than his share of CordeValle course knowledge. Rusty, 55, is the regular caddie for Champions Tour standout Jeff Maggert. 
"I give him encouragement when he needs it," said Rusty, nicknamed, "Hoss," who caddied every year that CordeValle hosted the Open (2010-13).
"We all had a good laugh at the PGA Championship," said Rusty. "I had mentioned to (CBS announcer) Jim Nantz that 'My boy, Omar, is excited about being here. I'm caddying for him.' Later in the broadcast, Nantz had it mixed up. He said that Omar's dad, "Hoss," was on his bag for the week. Our dad got a kick out of that back home." 
Omar, the 2015 Southern Texas PGA Match Play Champion, got more than his fill of match play three weeks ago. He and partner Travis Nelson reached the quarterfinals of the Section's Pro-Pro Championship. However, Nelson had to withdraw when his wife landed a new job in California.
That left Uresti by himself to face former PGA Cup participant Brad Lardon and Brandon Dixon. "I went bogey-free and 4-under-par, but got beat, 5 and 3," said Uresti. "Brad and Brandon were 5-under. It was quite a strange situation, but it all worked out and I hope that it will help me this week."
Sean Dougherty of Leawood, Kansas, also hopes that he has extra support from his caddie, Steve Wong of Palo Alto, California.
Wong decided several years ago to allow someone else to operate his floral business, and do what he loved most – spend time on a golf course. Wong is making his second PGA Cup caddie appearance, having worked for Great Britain & Ireland's John Wells in 2011.
WHEN ROONEY SPEAKS, PLAYERS LISTEN: The United States Team, which was visited by former Ryder Cup Captain Dave Stockton on Tuesday, got another dose of motivation on Thursday before it marched to the Opening Ceremony of the 27th PGA Cup. Major Dan Rooney, the founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation and a PGA Professional from Owasso, Oklahoma, addressed the Americans via Skype in the Team Room at CordeValle.  Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot, is a veteran of three tours of duty in Iraq.
Rooney recalled a defining moment in his life that came unexpectedly by simply attending a Sports Psychology 101 course at the University of Kansas. The professor was late to the class, said Rooney, and walked up to the blackboard to write one word: "Volition." He took his place at the podium and waited for silence. When asking the class what the word means, "there were crickets," said Rooney.
The professor explained that volition is the power of choice. "The choices you make today, this month, this year will culminate to write the legacy of your life," Rooney recalled the professor's words. "He turned to the blackboard, and he said, 'Every choice you make follows a logical path. It starts with I won't do that, I can't, I'd like to, I'll try, I can and I will. Forget the first five. If you can make it to it to 'I can,' and 'I will' in your life, nothing will stop you."
Rooney said that moment in the classroom listening to the professor "changed my life."
"My goal was to be a PGA Professional and a fighter pilot," he said. "I wanted to be held accountable to 'I will.'" 
If there is one word Rooney didn't want the U.S. Team to forget, it was that word that had been embedded in his consciousness since his Kansas classroom experience.
"I hope that you won't forget the power of volition," Rooney said. "I am truly with you guys in spirit."