By Art Stricklin
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Oklahoma born and bred golfer Robert Streb has been a golf fan longer than he’s been a professional golfer, so he doesn’t need to be reminded of the special date on the Oklahoma golf calendar for May.
“We don’t have a major golf championship in Oklahoma very often, that’s for sure. It will shine the spotlight on all the great golf we have in our state.”
Standing on the windy practice range of the Valero Texas Open late Tuesday, Streb is referring to the 2022 PGA Championship, May 19-22, at storied Southern Hills Country Club, a place he has played and is eager to return.
But just as importantly, Streb is aware he is not currently qualified for the second golf major of the year and knows he’s running out of time to play in front of friends and family.
“I know there’s a points list that determines who gets in and who doesn’t it,” he said looking at the practice range filled with PGA Tour golfers many in the same situation as him. “I haven’t looked at it lately, but I know I’m not high enough, and I have to play better to get there.
“That’s why I’m here and what I’m doing.”
Going into this week’s Texas Open, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, Streb is currently ranked 100th in the PGA Championship points rankings, a measure of how players fare from after the 2021 PGA Championship until one week prior to the 2022 championship. The top 70 on this list are guaranteed spots in the field.
Other players competing in Austin from Oklahoma who are hoping to move up this week and over the next month include Kevin Tway (107), Taylor Moore (147), Bo Van Pelt (149) and Max McGreevy (153).
The cutoff to move up is after the May 8, the final day of the Wells Fargo Championship.
None of the Oklahomans mentioned are eligible to play next week in The Masters Tournament barring a victory in San Antonio. So they have four more chances after that to make a jump.
Former OSU golfer Matthew Wolfe is currently at 68th in PGA Points and in the Southern Hills field for now, but is not here in the Texas Open this week.
“I feel like I’m playing well, and hitting it good, but it hasn’t been enough so far. I have to keep it up,” Streb said
Streb, who was born in Chickasha and went to school at Kansas State, is coming his best performance of the year with a tie for 7th at the Vaspar Championship outside Tampa, Florida, March 17-20, with rounds of 68-69-65 and a final round 70.
It was his third top 10 finish of the wrap around 2021-22 season which earned him valuable PGA points, along with seven missed cuts which earned him nothing. Already this year, Streb has shot a first round 61 at the CJ Cup at The Summit in Las Vegas and a third round 81 at the Honda Classic in Florida.
“I feel good and glad to be out here. It’s always a new week,” he said before his Pro-Am round.
Should he make it to Southern Hills in May, or for anyone who does, he has a good idea what to expect.
“There will be some wind to contend with, that’s pretty certain,” said Streb. “I think Southern Hills will be a tough test and a good spotlight on Oklahoma golf.
“For now, we have Talor Gooch in the (PGA Championship) field, with maybe Matthew Wolfe and Rickie (Fowler),” Streb said. “I’ve just got to work to join them.”
Players with Oklahoma ties looking certain to make the field are former Cowboys Viktor Hovland, Gooch, Fowler (a top 15 finisher in 2021) and Alex Noren with former OU star Abraham Ancer. Wolff just needs one solid finish while Charles Howell III (currently 181) is a long shot.