Poker player sues USGA for amateur status
Now its up to a judge to decide.
Schmidt has filed a complaint seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow him to keep his amateur status with the USGA and play in a series of events in the Pacific Northwest. A hearing in the matter is scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland.
While Schmidt portrays himself as an innocent victim who simply wants to compete in the sport he loves, the USGA claims in court documents that he is a self-promoter who flouted the rules for amateur status with his golf-and-poker challenge.
At the end of the day, Im trying to get my amateur status back. I am trying to fight for my right NOT to make money playing golf, basically, he said. I just want to play golf, and I believe I should be allowed to play golf.
Schmidt was a promising young golfer in Southern California who turned pro after a year at UC Irvine. His career ended, stunningly, when he had a heart attack at age 23.
During his rehabilitation, Schmidt took up online poker. At one point, down to his last $1,000, he decided to go for broke ' literally.
In retelling his story, Schmidt acknowledges that he may sound too much like a problem gambler, but he had a plan he figured would work. By playing 400 hours in the first month, he kept his $1,000 and earned some $8,000 in credits to allow him to keep going. The next month, he did better, and then better again.
Schmidt, now 28, estimates hes made $3 million gambling online and live a comfortable lifestyle. But what he says he really wants to do is play golf competitively.
Schmidt asked for, and regained, his amateur status. In May, he qualified to play in the Oregon Amateur, held last month in Bandon, Ore. But he never went.
The USGA revoked his amateur status on June 11 when they got wind of the Million Dollar Challenge that Schmidt was proposed in April through a Web site he co-owns, 10thGreen.com. The challenge was also the subject of a press release.
The USGA informed Schmidt he could apply to have his status reinstated, but he says that the process wasnt timely enough because of the registration fees hed already paid to compete in events over the summer.
The crux of Schmidts argument is that no one took him up on the challenge, so it is moot.
A spokesman for the USGA said the organization does not comment on current or pending litigation.
In court documents, the USGA maintains that Schmidts challenge was violated a rule aimed at actions detrimental to the best interests of the amateur game, and another related to gambling and the spirit of the rules.
Having promoted his prize money golf/poker contest for two months and having obtained tremendous publicity for himself, his entrepreneurial Web site and his prize money scheme, Mr. Schmidt cannot unring the bell no matter how hard he tries, the USGA said in court documents.
Schmidt, who plans to represent himself Monday, realizes the odds are against him.
I consider myself a golfer that more or less stumbled into this poker thing, and along the way picked up what I believe are these misconceptions about who I am and what I do, he said. I think that doesnt sit well with the USGA.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18