Visacki achieves life-long dream with Valspar teetime
Many of us have a dream…some realistic and some not. For 27-year-old Michael Visacki it was to play on the world’s biggest golf stage, the PGA Tour.
Visacki has worked hard at achieving his goal, slogging it out on the US mini-tours for the past six years where you pay hundreds of dollars just to play the event and only those at the top of the leaderboard make any decent money in return.
Despite the gruelling schedule, he has been a prolific winner but even then it was an ongoing struggle to balance the books with hotels, petrol, food and entry fees eating up most of the prize money.
He missed earning a Korn Ferry Tour card two years ago when he lost his ball in a tree on the 17th hole in the final round of the second stage of Q-School. He missed qualifying by one shot.
“I never once thought about quitting. I know I have the game to compete out here and I never once thought about quitting. I said I got to keep going, I’m not getting any younger, so just keep on fighting.”
And history almost repeated itself this week when he decided to try his luck in a Monday Qualifier for Thursday’s Valspar Championship in Florida.
Visacki played well enough to get into a playoff for a spot but put his drive on the first playoff hole behind a small bush and, according the the Florida-native, was a foot short of unplayable lie. He managed to get up and down from there and moved to the next hole.
At the second playoff hole he faced a 90-metre chip into the green where he left himself with a 7-metre putt that would finally get him onto the PGA Tour.
“If I make this putt I’m playing, I’m going to be playing in the Valspar,” said in a press conference.
“But after that I was like, okay, I got to not think about that, I got to think about putting the best stroke possible, picking out a good line with me and my caddie and we picked out a great line and I hit the spot and it went in the hole.”
After the putt dropped, years of hard work, disappointment and relief came pouring out as Visacki sobbed as he hugged his playing partners and caddie, Kaylor Steger.
Next up was the most difficult of all with a call to his parents.
Visacki fought back tears as he told his father he had finally achieved his life-long goal.
“I made it,” said a deeply-emotional Visacki.
“You did it,” his father replied. “Oh my goodness. I’m crying. Congratulations.”
“Pops was emotional, I’ve never seen him cry so much. We’re not very much of a crying family, but this is the first time in a long time I think that we all cried because we knew how much work and effort, blood, sweat, tears, has gone into me trying to make it and to finally be able to do it, it’s a dream come true.”
“Sometimes there would be nights where they wouldn’t eat, just to give me some food. They would sacrifice, sometimes maybe not paying a phone bill just so that I can go and play some junior tournaments back in the day.”
Visacki will tee off alongside Hank Lebioda and Brad Adamonis at 9:07am on Thursday (US time).