NATIONAL: Aboriginal golfer Scott Gardiner won’t make the mistake of trying to smash a golf ball like Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson when he debuts on the US PGA Tour in Hawaii in January.
“I think that’s a common rookie mistake,” said 36-year-old Gardiner ahead of his first trip back to Australia since the Moonah Classic in February, 2010.
“I won’t be going out there thinking I can hit it as long as Tiger or some of the other guys do.
“I’m going to be the guy putting it on the fairway and trying to find a way to get it on the green.”
It’s a philosophy Gardiner believes helped him to finally secure a US PGA Tour card after eight years toiling on the secondary tour.
“I didn’t really try too hard this year and, to be honest, I think that helped me,” he said.
“You don’t have shoot 65 every time you go out.
“If you go out and hit some good shots and shoot a couple under they’re still going to pay you pretty well at the end of the week.”
Sydney-born Gardiner will create history at Hawaii’s Kapalua Resort course on January 7 as the first indigenous Australian player to compete fulltime on the US tour.
“It’s something I feel pretty proud to achieve for all those family and people who have supported me,” he said.
Instead of teeing up for $US500,000 ($A480,000) tournament prizemoney on the secondary Tour, Gardiner will be taking on the big boys for $US5 million ($A4.80 million) or more a week.
“I’ve always wanted to play golf professionally whether that was on the (Australian) Sunshine circuit or over here (America). As long as I was paying the bills, I was always going to be happy,” he said.”
Gardiner will head home to contest next month’s Australian Open at The Lakes in Sydney and also the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum.
Those two events will lead up to the biggest moment of his golfing life in Hawaii.
He has linked with his former Caloundra sports psychologist Sean Lynch to make sure he is not just physically ready but also mentally prepared to cope with the big step up in competition and company.
“I used to work with Sean before I came out here (USA),” said Gardiner.
“He’s more a mental coach. Sometimes after a bad round it’s nice to have a sounding board like him to help me approach the next round or tournament feeling fresh,” he said.
“I’m going to come down and play a few events in Australia which will be much of my preparation for Hawaii and I’m really looking forward to playing those tournaments and those courses again.”
“After that, it gets very exciting.”
Biography on Scott Gardiner:
Born: Liverpool (NSW)
Resides: Farmington, Arkansas (USA)
Children: Daughter Tatum, son Kai
Turned Pro: 2000
Professional victories: 2005 Queensland PGA Championship; 2010 Chattanooga Classic (US Nationwide Tour)
Finished 15th on the US Web.com Tour this season with scoring average of 69.76 securing full PGA Tour card for 2013
Made 123 cuts from 199 career starts on the US secondary tour for career earnings of $US1,156,841 ($A1.11 million)