“It’s insane,” Straka commented on the tour’s homepage, about his historic victory in the US state of Florida. “It’s always been my dream.” The Austrian-American started the final day five strokes behind Daniel Berger in second and on a dramatic finish finally prevailed in front of Shane Lowry. For his success, Straka was rewarded not only with his entry into the history books, but also with a prize money of 1.44 million dollars (1.28 million euros).
Following Marcus Brier, the European Tour’s first red, white and red winner, and the most successful Austrian by championship, Bernd Weisberger who was the first Austrian to take part in the Ryder Cup in September of the previous year, so Straka reached the next stage in domestic golf. It’s the second out of 28, because in 2019 Straka was the first Austrian professional on the PGA Tour. Since this year, Matthias Schwab, who finished seventh in the Palm Beach Gardens, is the second homegrown player.
From Vienna to Georgia
Unlike Brier or Wiesberger, the Straka road led to the world class early across the USA. Austria’s first PGA Tour winner was born on May 1, 1993 as Joseph with his twin brother Sam, the son of an Austrian architect and an American mother. At the age of 14, Seb moved with his family to Valdosta, Georgia and is closer to his mother’s family. It’s a crucial step in his career, according to Straka, because: “It meant a much longer season of golf.”
Straka fought his first competition indoors, as he jousted with his brother almost every day on the golf course. For a long time, his brother overshadowed Seb. The Austrian American once said, “As much as I hated losing to Sam, it happened too often.” And when the University of Georgia signed both, Seb was only spotted because he was the talented brother of Sam, whom the university first noticed and was particularly interested in.
It was Sam who convinced Seb to play golf after so many years in football – Sam was a striker and Seb was a goalkeeper. Both made it to the ÖGV junior national team. Seb, who was not nicknamed “Bull” at a stately height of 1.91 meters for no reason, outperformed his brother. As an amateur, he finished second with the team at the World Junior Championships in 2011, played for the first time in the United States on the second-ranked Web.com Tour (today: Korn Ferry Tour) and in 2016 – longtime living in the States USA – He made his professional debut at the local tournament in Atzenbrugg.
2019 decisive year
In 2019, Straka finally secured the right to play on the PGA Tour at last impression as the Austrian first. In the first tournament there, the 28-year-old impressed with his first-round lead before slipping to 46th. Since then, the former Georgia Bulldog, as students at the University of Georgia are known, has been a permanent member of the PGA.
Her third place finish in the 2019 Barbasol Championship was the best result yet before she shone on Sunday on the world’s hottest and most demanding professional round of golf. Thus Straka increased his career prize money to over US$5.1 million, improving to 14th place in FedExCup and in the world rankings from 176th to 83rd as the second best Austrian after Wiesberger (67th).
Straka, who lost a medal after finishing fourth on the final day at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, took home the Masters in Augusta (April 7-10), and the PGA Championship (May 19-22) with his success in Florida. In January of next year in the exclusive Champions Tournament, where all the winners of the PGA season compete in Hawaii.
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