A Dream Come True!
by Dusty Schmidt | Published: Sep 26, '12
Late last week I received some incredible news that has me very excited. The Callaway Pebble Beach Invitational (November 13-18) extended a sponsors invitation to me and I accepted it without hesitation. The event is an off season event in which professionals on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour, Champions Tour and LPGA tour compete against each other for a $300,000 purse. The event is 40 years old and I must say, it will be quite an honor to compete in the event alongside the pros I am used to watching from my couch on TV! Short of competing in an official PGA Tour event, this is as good as it will probably get for a guy like me.
I honestly had no intention of playing much golf past September this year. I played a ton earlier in January when I thought I was going to move to Southern California and play competitive golf again. When that didn’t work out family wise, I have mostly just been playing poker and enjoying life outside of golf. I played sparingly this summer, but was never able to get my game very sharp since I was having a little too much fun with all of the summer festivities here in Portland. I intended to hang up the sticks for several months and dedicate myself fully to poker again, but that plan is going to be on hold until I get back from Pebble Beach. I feel I owe it to myself to give it my best and truly prepare for this event as well as I can. I have about 6 weeks, so I will really be cramming it in, but I think I can get my game in pretty good shape by then. For all I know, this may well be the biggest golf tournament I ever play in in my entire life, and I want to try and play my best and see what happens. Invitations like these don’t come along every day, that’s for sure.
So far this week I put my swing coach, Michael Neff, on retainer for the next 6 weeks and have been hitting a lot of golf balls on the range as well as hitting a lot of putts. I know that if I am stroking it well at the event and am hitting the ball B+ or better, I can hang give myself a chance for a decent result in the tournament. If either one of those get very far off, then I am going to struggle, no question. Michael and I are going to do a fair bit of work most days leading up to the event and be sure that I can get my swing dialed in for the event. My plan is to work mostly on getting my golf swing and putting stroke dialed between now and mid October, and then go into play mode where I play a lot of golf on the course and get into a scoring mindset. I also need to get comfortable with my shot patterns on the course, as well as the distances my shots travel. Currently my swing is not where it will be a month from now, and my distance with the irons is much shorter than it will be later next month. So playing and getting comfortable with my golf swing leading up to the event is going to be very important.
Poker wise, I will be playing here and there at night so I don’t go backwards on all the hard work I put into my game. I will also still compete in the Punta Cana Poker Classic (October 12-18), but other than that, I am going to focus mostly on golf until the event is over. After the event is over, I will most likely be in full grind mode poker wise until next summer. But for now, it is all about golf and I am thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity to compete against many of the best players in the game of golf and arguably the best golf course in the world. I can’t wait!!