Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Former BYU men’s golfer Rhett Rasmussen was supposed to start his professional golf career at the end of May.

Rasmussen, who qualified for the Mackenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada in February, was supposed to retain fully exempt status through the first six tournaments of the tour.

All he can do now is wait.

Along with most other professional sports leagues throughout the world, the Mackenzie Tour was forced to suspend its season indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even amid the uncertainty, however, Rasmussen is doing all he can to fine-tune his game and remain ready to tee off his professional career at a moment’s notice.

“I’ve just been playing and practicing as much as possible,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve been trying to do what I can on my own and am practicing hard.”

Rasmussen, who recorded the third lowest single-season stroke average in program history this season with a 69.89, continues to practice with his Cougar teammates on a regular basis at some of the team’s facilities. Rasmussen spends most of his time playing rounds at the team’s home course, Riverside Country Club, and polishing his skills at the team’s newly built practice facility at Fox Hollow Golf Course.

Rhett Rasmussen hits a ball out of a sand trap at the BYU men’s golf team’s home course, Riverside Country Club. Rasmussen posted the third lowest single-season scoring average in program history during the 2019-20 season. (BYU Photo)

The Draper, Utah, native hopes his college success can carry over to the professional level. Rasmussen tallied 27 top-20 finishes during his four-year BYU career, including a first-place finish at last season’s NCAA Regionals with a program record of 195 (69-63-63 — 195, -15).

“Rhett’s college success and scores have been off the charts,” BYU men’s golf head coach Bruce Brockbank said. “Last year at the NCAA Regionals when he shot a 63 twice, that’s professional golf stuff. That’s the kind of stuff he’s capable of.”

Rasmussen knows the transition to the professional level isn’t easy, especially during such unprecedented times. But he also realizes he has the support of several former teammates and coaches who believe he has what it takes to succeed.

One such support has been Patrick Fishburn, who played alongside Rasmussen at BYU during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns. After graduating from BYU, Fishburn played on the Mackenzie Tour for two years before earning membership for the Korn Ferry Tour. Rasmussen hopes to follow his former teammate’s footsteps.

“He sent me a nice message after I qualified and said if I ever have any questions to feel free to ask,” Rasmussen said. “He played the tour for two years and obviously did well enough to move on, so he’s definitely a nice guy to have to ask questions to.”

Rhett Rasmussen lines up for a putt on Apr. 20, 2019 at Riverside Country Club during the BYU men’s golf team’s lone home tournament of the season, the PING Cougar Classic. (BYU Photo)

For now, the Mackenzie Tour is eyeing the beginning of August as a potential start date, which would allow for at most six tournaments to be played. Rasmussen was originally promised fully exempt status for the first six tournaments of the Tour after placing third at the USA Central Q-School in February. Whether or not his status will remain valid for the entirety of the shortened season remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Brockbank hopes his former standout can find at least some type of golf tournament to participate in and keep the competitive juices flowing. While most events remain on hold, a select few have started to run again, such as the Scottsdale Open in which former Cougar golfers Fishburn and Peter Kuest participated.

Rasmussen is anxious to start competing again and is looking forward to taking the next step towards his ultimate goal of playing in the PGA Tour.

“It’s definitely tough just sitting here,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a long process but I’m eager to get back out there.”

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