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Augustus gets shot at proving his worth

Chasing his dream: Augustus has been given $16,500 to help in his bid to qualify for the PGA Tour of Canada(Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

All Daniel Augustus ever wanted was the opportunity to prove he could succeed as a professional golfer. Now he is going to get it.

A group of private donors led by Clement Talbot have presented Augustus, who works as an assistant golf professional at Tucker’s Point Club, with $16,500 so he can pursue his dream.

The Bermuda golfer will use the money to try and qualify for the PGA Tour of Canada, and he said he felt “blessed to have been given this opportunity.”

“It all feels like a dream right now,” he said. “All I ever wanted was to be given a shot at making it.”

There has never been any doubt that Augustus had the talent to succeed, but golf, unlike many sports, is an expensive undertaking.

The entry fee for the qualifier in mid-April is $2,800 alone, and that does not take into consideration the cost of travel, accommodation, and practice time.

Talbot, who ran the Ross “Blackie” Talbot Charity, said he came out of fundraising retirement when Augustus’s previous attempts to get sponsorship largely fell on deaf ears. Still, he would rather his role, and that of the donors, was as ignored as Augustus has been on occasion.

Fittingly, yesterday’s presentation to someone Talbot called “a role model for young Bermudians” came on the fifteenth anniversary of Ross “Blackie” Talbot’s death.

“This is about Daniel’s burning desire to qualify for the Canadian PGA Tour and 33 supporters who all wanted to give him the opportunity to pursue his lifelong dream,” Talbot said.

“I know there are a number of individuals within the community who have their doubts about Daniel’s quest to qualify and play on one of the premier PGA golf tours, but if any of you have had an opportunity to speak with him about this extremely formidable challenge, you will learn that he has the confidence, determination and commitment to succeed and make us, and all of Bermuda, very proud.”

Augustus will begin his quest to grab one of the 40 spots available at the tour qualifying school in January, when he heads to Florida to play in some minor tour events and work on his game for a month. Just having the chance to spend four weeks working on his game is a step up for the Bermuda professional.

“Before I would go away for one event at a time, maybe two,” Augustus said.

“The most I have ever done is three in a row, but what these gentleman have done for me, I can go and live in the US for a month, play four events, get out there and practise, and it makes a big difference.

“Now that I have a chance to just practise and play, I know that I can qualify.”

However, first comes next week’s Gosling’s Invitational, which Augustus is hoping to use to knock off the rust after a year where wrist injuries have limited his opportunities to play.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of time since I’ve been back getting ready for it [the Gosling’s],” Augustus said. “I’ll try and figure out where I am and get back into tournament golf.

“In my mind I want to win, but realistically I don’t know what shape I’m in.”