I got $1million from Trump – Deane recalls big win ahead of US PGA
"I've got a million-dollar cheque from the president." Stuart Deane spoke to Omnisport ahead of the US PGA Championship.
Stuart Deane was once considered the 'Million-Dollar Man', thanks to now-United States president Donald Trump.
In 2006, Deane won the Trump Million Dollar Invitational in a play-off, beating a fine field that included PGA Tour regulars Kevin Streelman and William McGirt.
That landed the Australia-born Deane, 45, a $1million cheque, signed by Trump.
Now preparing for the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, Deane understands the paths the pair have taken could never have been predicted on that day on Canouan Island in May 2006.
"You'd never have any idea," Deane told Omnisport after practicing with world number one Dustin Johnson on Wednesday.
"I've got a big cheque on the wall with his signature on it so, pretty cool to say I've got a million-dollar cheque from the president I guess. It's very cool."
Deane, who played tennis and cricket before switching to golf when he was younger, acknowledges the significance of that win in his career.
"It was life changing obviously in many different ways," he says. "From not only cashing a great cheque but just the fact of winning, winning an event of that size, great players back then, legitimate field.
"Really, to win at any level, winning is hard no matter where you play so that was the biggest thing for me was the fact I won. You actually won a good event, gave you that confidence to keep going."
To this day, that win plays a part for Deane.
"I was down at Trump Jupiter I guess it was at the end of last year and I called up, 'Hey, Stuart Deane' and 'Hey, champ, come on out'. So, it carries on with those guys and it was really a fantastic experience all the way around."
Trump may be a keen golfer, but Deane has never had the opportunity to play with the US president.
"I never played with him," he says. "I used to call him on the phone and chat and stuff like that, but never got to play with him. I was never really in the same place at the same time. Everything he does golf course-wise, all the golf courses he has are incredible."
Deane only went on to play in 11 PGA Tour events, making two cuts and winning just $28,354. A broken left hand – suffered when his caddie pushed him out of his golf cart in a freak accident in 2009 – would see him sidelined for 18 months and develop a hill he felt was too big to climb at 37.
Now the head golf coach at the University of Texas at Arlington, Deane missed the cut at the US PGA at Valhalla in 2014. But he gets another chance starting Thursday after qualifying through the PGA Professional Championship.
"The top 20 get through and it's a clean 20. We had an eight-way play-off for two spots," Deane said. "I was always outside the number. I played very well for the week, I just couldn't get a putt to go. I was in chase mode really from day one.
"I just felt once I got into the play-off, the advantage was mine. Just purely because you look at almost all of the guys in the play-off they'd almost all backed themselves out of a clean spot of being in, and then into a spot of being in a play-off so they kind of had a negative energy and I had a positive energy so I was like here we go, give me a chance to get into the play-off."
The play-off was reduced to seven after the first hole before Deane birdied the second to book his spot at Quail Hollow.
His caddie this week is a student – Zach Cole – and, while Deane gets a chance to mix it with the best, he believes teaching was exactly where he was meant to be.
"I love doing what I'm doing, being the coach up there at the school, I've got 12 great guys on the team, I've got six girls incoming this year and we start our women's program and you can really give back to the game of golf," he says.
"They're kids that care, you get to be around the kids who want to be around because we recruit them as well as them coming and wanting to play for us. It's a very unique experience, it's a very cool experience, extremely rewarding, it's pretty cool. I've ended up in a spot I guess I was meant to be."