If Tiger Woods started at age 2, then Hurly Long might have a leg up on him. Long is the newest international addition to the Oregon men’s golf team and has been swinging the clubs since he was just 18 months old.
Raised in St. Leon-Rot, Germany, Long has been a star in Europe since he was just a child. At age seven, Long participated in the USKIDS World Championships, which ended up being Long’s big break.
“It made me want more,” Long, a freshman, said. “It motivated me to push harder and do more. It was always my dream to be on tour and be the next Tiger Woods and it was the first moment I realized that I really, really wanted it and I was going to give everything for it.”
Just a few years later, Long was named to the German Junior National Team and played in the prestigious British Boys tournament. Despite his growing reputation in Europe, Long didn’t consider staying in Europe as an option.
“I’ve been planning to go to college for about 15 years now,” Long said. “It was always what I wanted to do. I decided that early because it gives you a ‘Plan B’ if golf doesn’t work out. You have every opportunity in the world to get better here and at the same time, you can get educated and get a good degree.”
To get to the U.S., Long had to be noticed by American coaches. His father, Ted, who is known as the best golf coach in Germany, was instrumental in getting Long’s name circulating in the states. Eventually his father reached out to Oregon head coach Casey Martin, who flew out to watch Long win the Doral Publix Junior title at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami, Florida. The rest is history.
“It was either going to be a coach like most coaches that manage the team with tee times, which is fine – they’re nice guys, good motivators, but maybe not quite so knowledgeable about the game – or Coach Martin,” Long said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get a better coach.”
After a golf filled summer that took Long from tournaments in Germany to Japan and then to Oregon in just a few days, Long has made a noticeable impact on the team, something that very few freshmen have done at Oregon. Last month, Long sunk a critical birdie in the first playoff round against Pac-12 rival USC to win the Itani Homes Collegiate in Pullman, Washington.
“He appears to show signs of being pretty clutch,” Martin said. “He’s been a huge addition, no doubt about it.”
Along with fellow freshman Aaron Wise, a three-time U.S. Amateur qualifier, Long is part of a uniquely experienced recruiting class.
“We don’t really view them as freshmen,” junior golfer Brandon McIver said. “They’re both really mature in their golf game. They’re meshing well with everyone else and their play has been a huge part of our success so far this season.”
Long might have a ways to go before he can catch up to Tiger, but he’s on the right track.