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Golfer Loses Amateur Status For Gambling on Poker and Golf Combo

An amateur golfer who plays online poker professionally had his status revoked by the USGA after publishing a gambling challenge to anyone who could beat him in a poker-golf combination, with $1 million at stake.

A golfer who has been denied amateur standing after proposing a gambling challenge to anyone who could beat him in a combination of poker and golf is suing to restore his status. Dusty Schmidt was told by the United States Golf Association that he could not enter the Oregon Amateur golf tournament because he had offered to bet takers on his website $1 million that he could best them in a poker-golf combination event.

Schmidt had been a pro golfer until suffering a heart attack at age 23. He had to quit the game, and picked up poker in the meantime. Schmidt was extremely successful, turning his last $1000 into an estimated $3 million fortune by playing online poker.

He applied for, and received, a restoration of his golfing amateur status. But the USGA heard of the website challenge, and withdrew his ability to compete as an amateur on June 11th. Schmidt says they told him he could re-apply for the standing, but that the procedure was too lengthy to complete in time for the Oregon event.

Schmidt points out that no one took him up on his challenge, meaning he did not play golf for money. The USGA says he had violated rules against gambling and committing actions harmful to the amateur game.

"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," Schmidt told USA Today. "I am trying to fight for my right NOT to make money playing golf, basically."

But the USGA, which would not coment, said in a court statement that Schmidt had promoted the contest for two months and enjoyed a great deal of publicity for the betting proposition. The matter will be heard in court in Portland on Monday.

Published on July 11, 2009 by MattMiller

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