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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Liaw skins senior year, turns pro”

    Former UA golfer Henry Liaw putts during the Ping-Arizona Intercollegiate tournament January in Tucson. After three successful seasons as a Wildcat, Liaw chose to forego his senior year to turn pro.
    Former UA golfer Henry Liaw putts during the Ping-Arizona Intercollegiate tournament January in Tucson. After three successful seasons as a Wildcat, Liaw chose to forego his senior year to turn pro.

    For the past three years, one name has been synonymous with men’s golf on the Arizona campus: Henry Liaw.

    No longer will that be the case after Liaw decided not to enroll in classes for the stat of his senior year. Instead, Liaw announced Saturday that he will become a professional golfer mostly on tours in Europe and Asia.

    Liaw said his decision to turn professional was a recent development that had been brewing throughout the summer.

    “”I wasn’t planning on it,”” Liaw said. “”Rumors started, but I could not talk about it officially, and at the end of the summer, things just started to fall into place.””

    UA assistant coach John Knauer said the news of Liaw’s decision came out of the blue for the coaches and the team.

    For a college golfer, turning pro is all about the calculation of sponsors, which was what Liaw said came for him in July.

    “”The situation was positive at school,”” Liaw said. “”There was no reason to leave, (but) then a couple of sponsors threw a lot of money at me.””

    The finances were in place and Liaw felt it was the right time for him to make the leap into the professional golfing arena.

    He decided that it was now or never, that if he waited until after he finished school the same sponsorship opportunities might not be there.

    As for his first pro event, Liaw is awaiting word from tournament officials to see if he will be playing in the Valero Texas Open Sept. 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas.

    Liaw’s family was split on the decision, as Liaw said his father wanted him to turn pro after high school but that his mother wanted him to finish school.

    “”She understands the situation, but my dad was like, ‘It’s about time,'”” Liaw said.

    As for the team he left behind, Liaw thinks that the Wildcats will still be contenders for a championship since they have the same supporting cast, but he’s unsure how the team feels overall about his decision to leave.

    “”It will open up the doors for other players,”” he said. “”Some will be happy, some might think it’s a step back.””

    Sophomore Ben Fox said that Liaw will be missed, adding that it was entirely his decision to leave.

    “”It was a bit of a shock,”” Fox said. “”We have a big team though, (so) we should be able to get ready to go.””

    Arizona was looking at perhaps its best lineup ever this season with Liaw being possibly the Pacific 10 Conference’ s most prominent golfer along with amateur champion Pedro Oriol, an incoming Arizona freshman.

    “”We didn’t have a chance to replace (Liaw) in a recruiting sense,”” Knauer said.

    Knauer said that because of his sudden decision to leave, there will be less time for the younger players on the team to get settled in, especially Oriol, and that they need to step up right away.

    “”As a coach, you look ahead of what could have been, but there was no guarantee,”” Knauer said.

    Still, Knauer understands the decision because he said that Liaw has had Asian sponsors wanting him to represent them for quite some time.

    “”It’s not something we were thrilled about, but in this day and age there are so many things pulling on these kids, and Henry, he’s like the Tiger Woods in China,”” Knauer said.

    The now former Wildcat looks forward to playing for himself and being the decision maker in his own game, as Liaw’s focus is unchanged as he prepares for his foray into professional sports.

    “”You get to the point where you are not even nervous anymore,”” he said. “”You go out there and do what you need to do.””

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