Drysdale comes prepared
Mahe Drysdale signed up as an amateur for Arrowtown's NZ PGA in December, and then promptly signed up for golf lessons at the New Zealand Institute of Golf to gain an edge.
"I'm a pretty competitive person, so once I signed up for the tournament, I started putting in some work, and hopefully that'll come to fruition," he said.
Golf was well outside his comfort zone but his competitive nature, which has taken him to the gold medal podium of the Olympic Games, is something that pushes him, he admitted after arriving in Queenstown this week.
"I've been in the States for a while, and had a few things on, so haven't had much time to put into my golf game but the lessons from The Academy have helped me stretch myself and given me some good grounding in practising and improving into a completely new sport.
The Pro-Am nature of the tournament, where amateurs team up with professionals on the last two rounds of play, means Drysdale will partner with a pro - but he has no particular preference on who he gets partnered with.
"I'm excited at the prospect of playing with a pro, and watching and learning from who ever that happens to be. They'll be playing for a win and I guess us amateurs will be a bit of a distraction but to be out there with them will be a great experience, and hopefully I won't put my pro off too much."
The NZ PGA Championship gets under way at The Hill today with up to 132 professionals teeing off and the top 68 making the cut on Friday to play through the weekend.
A field of 68 amateurs, including the fabulous Lydia Ko, Drysdale, George Gregan, Justin Marshall and Nick Farr-Jones will play a seeding tournament on the Friday and be paired with a professional to play for the NZ PGA pro-am title on the weekend.