Date: April 19, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Pay for play suits Luck just fine

Curtis Luck is ready to play for keeps.

The young West Australian, fresh off making the cut at the Masters a fortnight ago, has taken the pro plunge and will tee up for cash for the first time at the Texas Open in San Antonio on Thursday night (Australian time).

And while many have asked the reigning US Amateur champ about his nerves taking on the US PGA Tour for the first time as a professional, Luck couldn’t feel more prepared.

“I've been playing golf 10 years now, so I guess it's been a long time coming to be and turning professional,” Luck said.

“I guess there's added pressure to perform; I'm now trying to make a living (from golf). But I haven't played an amateur event since October, (so) I feel like I've been a professional for a while – I just haven't been able to cash a cheque.

“It's going to be a great week this week to be able to say I could potentially make some money. I've had a really big six months. I've played basically professional golf purely for the last four months in particular.”

The former world No.1 amateur, a member at Perth’s Cottesloe Golf Club, will bunk in with good mate and fellow emerging professional Ryan Ruffels in Orlando as he plots as many starts as possible on the main tour having foregone starts in the US Open and Open Championship when he gave up his amateur status.

Both players played at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and are expected to be given up to six further sponsor invitations through the North American summer as they press to earn a PGA Tour card for next season.

But Luck will gain an extra edge with additional starts at the Memorial Tournament and Quicken Loans National coming courtesy of his US Amateur win.

“Just trying to bump up my invites as much as I can for this season,” Luck said.

“At this stage, a lot of it is uncertain because tournaments aren't in the position to give things out yet. We're going to be out on a limb for a while and see what happens.”

With strong Texas winds forecast this week, Luck says a lifetime of playing in the breezes of the WA coastline affords him an advantage.

“It's an interesting golf course; It's quite Australian in a sense. It plays firm and fast and I know it's notoriously windy ,” he said after a practice round at TPC San Antonio.

“Fortunately, I've grown up in Perth and that's an extremely windy place, so this feels like home. My game suits these conditions.”

Luck will be joined in the field by fellow Australians Steven Bowditch, who won this event in 2014, Cameron Smith, John Senden, Cameron Percy, Greg Chalmers, Aaron Baddeley, Geoff Ogilvy, Matt Jones, and Brett Drewitt.