Australian underdogs Andrew Dodt and Nick Cullen line up at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational knowing one good week could change their lives.
While world No.4 Jason Day and former winner of the event Adam Scott will spearhead the Australian charge at Firestone Country Club in the lucrative no-cut 77-man field, Dodt and Cullen find themselves on the brink of a life-altering opportunity.
Dodt, a two-time European Tour winner finds his way into the field after a win at the True Thailand Classic back in February while Cullen booked his ticket with his Australian Masters triumph late last year.
And while the fans in Ohio may not know much about the 1001-1 shots the pair hope they do by week's end.
“It’s only my second world golf event so I am still trying to get used to it all. I play regularly on the European tour but its obviously not as big as this,” Dodt, who played in the 2010 WGC HSBC Champions event in China said.
“It’s so easy to get caught up in the range in this guy, that guy, that player, that coach, that manager but I just have to stay in my own bubble and do what I have to do without trying to be distracted.”
The 29-year-old might find it easier than normal to do so after drawing the lone single person tee time over the first two rounds and he spent time with Cullen and Day in a practice round to garner as much advice as possible.
Citing Cameron Smith, who leveraged a fifth place finish at a world golf event late last year into what will eventually be a US PGA tour card next season, Dodt knows what is at stake.
“A big result here would be huge, it would just be big for my confidence,” he said. “Playing with Jason it is good to get a feel and a vibe for what level I need to get my game at.
“I would like to be thereabouts on Sunday, that would be nice.”
For Cullen, a hand injury has hampered his preparation for the biggest start of his career but he remains confident he has what it takes to put a cat amongst the pigeons.
Having only played once in nearly four months, where he withdrew after making the cut, the odds are stacked against him.
“I did a real good number on my left hand, bruising a metacarpal back in April hitting off golf mats at a driving range when the weather was a bit average. It is still bothering me a bit but this event is too big to not play,” the 31-year-old world No.318 said.
“It’s just nice to be able to come into an event against the big boys with no cut and play with a bit of freedom, especially not having played much in the last few months.
“I think anyone playing these events has the ability to win it. You want to be in contention Sunday in every golf tournament you go to, that’s the judge of being successful for the week, so I would love to be around Sunday and be up there competing for it.”
For Cullen the key will be getting in position off the tee.
“I just need a bit of confidence off the tee because the short game feels great and my putting feels great so that’s half of it taken care off,” he said.
“The swing off the tee hasn’t felt too great so I am trying to find that but I came into the Aussie Masters not feeling to good about it and it worked out well that week.”