Fore! Leatherass puts up $1 million challenge

Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt
Schmidt claims he's the best golfer/poker player in the world.

There are lots of poker players who consider themselves decent golfers. And lots of athletes who like the challenge of poker.

But Dusty "Leatherass" Schmidt may be the first to claim he's the best combination of both in the world.

In fact, as a former pro golfer turned professional online poker player, Schmidt may have a good case. And he's willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Schmidt has issued a $1 million challenge to anyone that will play him in eight, 9-hole golf matches and 10 heads-up poker matches.

Each round of golf will be worth $50,000, and the overall winner of the golf matches will win $100,000. Each heads-up poker match will also be worth $50,000.

"I mainly decided to issue the challenge because if I'm not the best poker and golf player out there, I'd like to see someone who can beat me," Schmidt said. "Plus it doesn't hurt to draw a little attention to my new Web site (10thGreen.com)."

Schmidt has been catching some grief in the 2+2 forums for the bet, with people calling it a publicity stunt and saying it's ridiculous to think any serious golfer would take him on. And, if one did, that Schmidt would have no chance at winning.

Leatherass says bring it on.

He even amended the challenge to give the forum haters a chance to pool their money and put it behind the golf pro of their choice - or more accurately their choice outside of the top 10 official world-ranked players.

"There's definitely less luck involved in golf than poker," said Full Tilt Poker Pro Erick Lindgren, who is well known for taking on golf prop bets.

Erick Lindgren
Lindgren knows a thing or two about golf bets.

"A pro golfer might win by beating him seven out of eight golf matches, then getting lucky a few times in the poker."

Despite his own golf reputation, Lindgren said he wouldn't be taking on the challenge himself.

"He's a better than scratch golfer," Lindgren said. "I can't compete with that. What you need is a sick golfer who knows a little bit about poker. You can't just be a sick poker player who's a bad golfer."

It's not poker players that Schmidt is hoping to attract anyway. He suspected there wouldn't be many takers from the poker world, and even if there were, they'd probably want more action on the golf part of the bet.

Schmidt said he didn't put out this challenge just to get action. He wants to attract someone from the pro-golf world who is also into poker and prove himself to be the best golfer-slash-poker-player out there.

"The guy that makes the most sense would be Rocco Mediate," Schmidt said.

Not only did Mediate give Tiger Woods a run for his money at the 2008 U.S. Open, losing in a sudden-death playoff, he's also played in some top level poker tournaments, including the World Series of Poker.

"I can give him a better run than someone like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson," Schmidt claimed.

Schmidt is better-known for his online poker persona "Leatherass" than for his golf game. But if it weren't for a health problem, perhaps it would be the other way around.

He discovered golf at a young age and threw himself into perfecting his game. From about age 19 to 23, Schmidt was an on and off professional golfer and was pretty close to making the PGA tour when he suffered a heart attack.

While recovering, he had to give up golf, but transferred that competitive drive to playing online poker.

Schmidt ended up making more money playing online than he did in his family's business, so he quit to play full time.

Despite a new profession, the golf bug never left. He started playing again when he was healthy and has continued to work back to his former status.

In preparation for someone taking him up on his $1 million challenge, he has split his time between golf and poker.

In fact, he's been working on his short game with friend and golf pro Casey Martin.

"In some ways I'm light years ahead of when I was playing professionally, and in some ways I'm way behind," Schmidt said of his golf game. "I'm certainly playing much better, and I expect to come out of this a much better player too."

In fact, he's planning to start playing in some tournaments this summer and see where his golf game can take him.

"If I go out there and start tearing it up, I may have to give it a shot again," he said.

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