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17 year old Ty Tryon turning professional

Ty Tryon, a junior in high school who has made the cut in both PGA Tour events he has played this year, plans to turn pro after the U.S. Amateur next week and try to earn his card through PGA qualifying school, Golfweek magazine reported.

Swing coach David Leadbetter, who has worked with the 17-year-old Tryon the past 10 years, said he would play about 15 tournaments a year in the summer but stay in school in Orlando until he graduates in 2003.

Tiger Woods didn't turn pro until he was 20, after winning three straight U.S. Amateurs.

Turning pro as a teen-ager is more common overseas. Justin Rose of England did it three years ago at 17, while Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia also turned pro as teen-agers.

"If this was done in Europe, or if this were tennis, not much would be said about it," Leadbetter told Golfweek. "But here, Ty will be a guinea pig. Other kids and their parents will look at this. I think he can rise to the occasion. But it's not something I would advocate for everybody."

Tryon was traveling to the U.S. Amateur in Atlanta and not immediately available for comment.

Even if Tryon does get through Q-School, he might not be able to become a PGA Tour member until he turns 18 next June.

Nonmembers under 18 will be allowed to play Tour events on sponsor exemptions, but the tour is considering a policy that members be at least 18. Currently, there is no age restriction for PGA Tour members.

Tryon was a Monday qualifier for the Honda Classic in March and, at 16, became the youngest player in 44 years to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. He tied for 39th.

He played the B.C. Open last month on a sponsor's exemption, tied for the lead after the first round and wound up in a tie for 37th.


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