Former University of Oklahoma golfer Rylee Reinertson, has been named the winner of the 2018 Everett Dobson Award presented by the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. Reinertson was a key member of the 2017 NCAA national championship team and the 2018 Big 12 champion Sooners. Unknown to many watching him, he overcame a severe hearing loss to become one of the nation’s best and most popular collegiate golfers.
“I’m really excited and proud that Rylee is the recipient,” said OU coach Ryan Hybl. “He worked extremely hard here for four years and gave everything he had. His hearing may have hid him a little bit because it didn’t allow him to be very vocal in a crowd, but it never stopped him from being a great leader. He was always doing the right things in the classroom, on the course and in life.”
Reinertson was playing the Mackenzie Tour in Canada this summer until suffering a lower back injury and came back to Norman to rehabilitate the injury with hopes of attending Web.com Tour qualifying school this fall. He registered six top-10 finishes at OU, graduated in four years with a 3.58 grade point average and earned a degree in accounting.
The Nebraska native wrote a moving essay on what golf has meant in his life that helped sway the committee judging the entrants, according to Hall of Fame Chairman Tom Jones.
“Once again the committee had a difficult decision because the quality and character of all the applicants was just outstanding,” Jones said. “Rylee’s story was inspirational and the committee felt he would be a great ambassador for the state and the Hall of Fame going forward.”
Here is an excerpt from his essay on golf.
In golf, I’ve learned that there is nothing like the present. It doesn’t matter what I did yesterday, what I might do tomorrow, but today – this moment is all that matters and all that golf ball cares about. The present moment is one of life’s greatest gifts and the game of golf has taught me the importance of seizing the opportunity and embracing it by being totally locked into it. It has paid huge dividends in my game and in my life, because I’ve learned to get rid of outside noise. Focus on the task at hand. Take care of the moment. That’s all the matters and when we keep doing that day after day, God will get us where He wants us to be. I am so thankful for the game of golf because I know I can be happy for the rest of my life as a result of playing it and embracing all that it has taught me.
Reinertson, who said he was honored to be recognized by the Hall of Fame, wears a hearing aid and is able to communicate and hear with no issues except in noisy rooms or high winds.
The Everett Dobson Award is a $5,000 award to help a collegiate golfer get started in their professional career, whether in golf or another profession. It is named for businessman and philanthropist Everett Dobson, who was instrumental in founding the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame in 2014. Previous winners include Jordan Niebrugge of Oklahoma State in 2016 and Drew Posada of Oklahoma Baptist University in 2017.
For more, go to www.oklahomagolfhof.org.