Texas Star pro Stuart Deane wants to be more than ‘a participant’ in PGA Championship

Courtesy of Stuart Deane

Stuart Deane has seen the “Tiger Woods effect” first-hand playing in the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

“The Tiger effect was almost unrealistic, just the amount of people who showed up at the driving range,” Deane said. “We’re talking 60,000 people just showing up to watch him hit balls. It was absolutely unbelievable.”

Deane is expecting an even bigger circus at this week’s PGA Championship. Not only is Woods coming off a Masters victory last month, the tournament is being played at New York’s Bethpage Black.

New York fans are unlike any other.

“I can’t wait to see it,” Deane said. “It’ll be even more than Valhalla. It’s just very cool and very surreal to play in a major.”

Yes, Deane is back in the field and will be making his third career appearance in the PGA Championship.

Deane, an Arlington resident and teaching professional at Texas Star Golf Course in Euless, is one of 20 PGA club pros who qualified for the tournament. He missed the cut in his previous two appearances in the 2014 tournament at Valhalla and in 2017 at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina.

“Anytime you get into a major is fantastic,” Deane said. “I’ve heard Bethpage is an absolute monster, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I feel like I’m playing well and the goal of any of the 20 club pros in it is to make the cut. That would be a great accomplishment.”

Deane tees off No. 1 at 1:11 p.m. today with Jorge Campillo and Chesson Hadley. The group will tee off at 7:46 a.m. Friday off No. 10.

Deane, 47, played in last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, missing the cut by seven strokes. But that’s still a nice warm-up for a non-PGA Tour pro going into a major championship. He played Bethpage Black for the first time this week during practice rounds.

Deane feels his short-game will be his biggest strength.

“For the most part, I’m a great pitcher and putter of the ball,” Deane said. “My ball-striking can come and go. That’s more of a feature of doing what we do for a living. We don’t get to play a lot, so getting ready for a tournament you spend most of the time pitching and putting.”

Deane went through multiple rounds of competition to qualify for the PGA Championship, including finishing in the Top 20 at the national PGA Professional Championship (PPC) from April 28-May 1.

More than 300 professionals from around the country competed for 20 spots in the field.

Last year, Ben Kern was the only club pro to make the cut at the PGA Championship, finishing T42nd at 3-under. Deane hopes to follow suit after failing to reach the weekend his first two times.

“This week, you don’t just want to be a participant,” Deane said. “You want to go and actually compete. Making the cut and finishing 42nd like Ben Kern, that’s what we’re all hoping for.”

For Deane, playing the PGA Championship and events such as the AT&T Byron Nelson fills his competitive juices. The Australian competed professionally in Australia and Asia before settling in the United States in 1996.

Deane had a three-year stint as UT-Arlington’s director of golf before resigning last October and accepting his position at Texas Star. He doesn’t anticipate pursuing a professional career on the Champions Tour when he turns 50, citing his two children and the demanding lifestyle that comes with being a professional golfer.

“At least at this point, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at,” Deane said. “My daughter is a sophomore in high school and my little guy is 5, so it’s where the travel is hard. We’ll take it as it comes.”

For now, his focus is on the PGA Championship.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram