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AUSTIN, Texas — Golf has always come easy to Omar Uresti, a PGA Tour veteran with nearly 400 starts and 14 top-10 finishes on his resume. In fact, he made his first ace at the age of eight, a fact that he still considers among his highlights with the sport.

After a successful collegiate career at the University of Texas, Uresti turned professional in 1991 and played 11 full seasons on the PGA Tour, earning nearly $4 million.

And although he’s only dabbled on the PGA Tour Champions, Uresti still plays frequently and even qualified (albeit controversially) for the PGA Championship five times between 2015 and 2021.

But recently he noticed a curious bump that was hindering his swing and causing some discomfort. Although the 55-year-old didn’t think much of it, he finally went in to investigate.

“I kept kind of hitting and rubbing over this bump on my leg and finally, after a couple weeks, I decided to look at it,” he said. “And when I did I was like, oh, that doesn’t look good. So I decided to go to the dermatologist and they biopsied it.”

Uresti was later told it was squamous cell carcinoma, one of the most common forms of skin cancer. Squamous and basal cells are in the top layer of the skin, called the epidermis. About eight in 10 skin cancers are basal cell cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. While it’s rare for it to spread to other parts of body, if it’s not removed completely then it can come back in the same place on the skin.

After getting the lump removed, Uresti said he feels fine.

Omar Uresti of the United States hits his first shot on the second hole during the first round of the 2023 RBC Canadian Open at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

“I had to go back in and I missed the qualifier in Tucson so I drove back and got it done immediately,” he said. “There are not a bunch of tournaments going on. And so I had it cut out. I had five stitches or about a five-centimeter-long cut. They had to stitch it together and they told me two weeks with no strenuous activities.

“So, I’m finally back at it and the game still feels about the same. Hopefully, it’ll get a little better.”

Uresti played in five PGA Tour events in 2023, but failed to make the cut in any of them. He did post a 69 in the second round at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in November, however, and finished at even par, but still missed the weekend by five strokes.

Still, he feels he could break through at any time and add to his career earnings, which are nearly $4 million.

“It’s been kind of inconsistent,” Uresti said of his game. “You know, a lot of good holes and a couple bad holes but they’re making some swing adjustments lately and trying to get it back to where it used to be and it’s just a matter of the body letting it do it.”

As a player who has played in PGA Tour events in four different decades, Uresti is not thrilled with the current golf landscape and the fracturing that has transpired in recent years.

“It’s really a bummer that we’re having this war go on between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour,” Uresti said. “I think the commissioner may have overreacted a little bit and panicked. You know, I think if he’d have come out and said, ‘You have six release forms to go play other tournaments, on any other tours, and if you play any more than that, that’s it.’ If he just would have said something like that, I think it would have been OK.

“That way they would have had the big names, and we’d been able to have them as well.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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