WEB.COM TOUR INSIDER
Quest for TOUR card not Dahmen's biggest battle
June 08, 2016
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Joel Dahmen currently stands No. 25 on the Web.com Tour money list as he strives to earn his first TOUR card. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Joel Dahmen’s story has been told, and told again. But to glean over the facts, and to not give credit to the 28-year-old given his journey in professional golf, would be doing him a disservice.
Dahmen, though, doesn’t want his past to define him.
At 25th on the Web.com Tour money list this year, he’s inching closer to the ultimate goal – getting to the PGA TOUR – and is eyeing what’s next.
Has it been a straightforward, easy road for the native of Clarkston, Washington? No.
Have there been times when he questioned what he was doing in golf? Yes.
Has be battled through a health scare that could have easily derailed anyone, let alone an otherwise healthy early-20s male? You’d better believe it.
But Dahmen, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, now has a clean bill of health. And the second-year Web.com Tour member is feeling much more comfortable in his second go-around on the Tour.
“Last year was kind of tough,” admits Dahmen. “We didn’t know any of the cities, we didn’t know any of the golf courses. I’d travel on Monday and get all 18 in on Tuesday (for practice). It’s a little easier this year knowing the courses, knowing where we’re going to stay, knowing where we’re going to eat. The comfort level is way higher.”
That comfort level is showing in his results, as Dahmen has already made over $71,000 after making six cuts in the first 10 events. His best finish was a tie for third at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER earlier in the year.
In 2015 he finished 62nd on the money list with $86,000 in earnings. That season was, by his admission, fairly up-and-down. He made 13 cuts, but missed 12, including a stretch of four in a row later in the year.
“I definitely felt like a rookie last year, but this year I know what to expect week-in and week-out,” he says.
Defying the Odds: Joel Dahmen
Dahmen is used to taking a little time to get used to things. He spent five years on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada before breaking through in 2014 with two victories and topping the money list.
Prior to his breakout season, he did a little soul-searching.
“Over that winter (2013-14) I sat down and had to think if this (playing golf) was what I wanted to do, and I probably wasn’t putting forth quite the effort that I needed to in the offseason,” he explains. “I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I didn’t really want a real job; I wanted to play golf.”
Dahmen says he took a lesson in January 2014 that helped a lot.
“I just had a lot of self-belief to know I was good enough. I was good enough to play on the Web.com Tour and the PGA TOUR. It was just about believing in myself and having the tools to do that,” he states.
This year Dahmen says he has switched to a different instructor, who is more of a friend/role-model to him.
Rob Rashell played in two U.S. Opens and was a PGA TOUR member in the mid-2000s. He went to the University of Washington (like Dahmen) and is now based out of Scottsdale, Arizona (like Dahmen).
“He’s helped a lot with managing my game – some mechanical things but not too much – more so on how to handle pressure,” explains Dahmen of his new guru. “He’s been there before and he’s succeeded. It’s been great to bounce ideas off him and have that open dialogue.”I looked in the mirror and realized I didn't really want a real job; I wanted to play golf.
Dahmen also remains close friends with fellow University of Washington golfers Nick Taylor (PGA TOUR winner) and Kevin Spooner (Mackenzie Tour winner), who live near each other in Arizona. In fact, Spooner and fellow Canadian professional David Rose lived with Taylor this past winter.
Dahmen says he talks to Taylor on a weekly basis, at least via text message.
“I’m an honorary Canadian, living with those guys in college and being up there (playing) for five years. I kind of feel like one,” Dahmen says with a laugh. “Some people think I’m Canadian, but no, I was just up there forever.”
But, that part of his career is in his rearview mirror.
This week at the Rust-Oleum Championship, Dahmen’s caddie will be wearing one of the gold bibs dedicated to those in The 25. He says he doesn’t think too much about his position week-after-week, though.
“You notice, but you try not to think about it,” he states. “The gold bib is nice to have, but it’s not something I’m focused on too much. If I keep putting together solid weeks, then I should be there by the end of the year.”
“If I putt well, I play well. It’s pretty simple,” continues Dahmen, when asked what the key to his ongoing success will be. “I always hit it well off the tee and I hit a lot of greens. I basically need to putt ‘average.’ I can’t be losing strokes on the green over the course of four rounds.”
Dahmen says this week’s course, Ivanhoe Club, fits his eye.
“It’ll be more strategy and not as many drivers off the tee, playing more for position. That suits my game fine,” he explains. “A course like this is good for me. I grew up on tree-lined courses with higher rough, and that’s kind of what this course is.”
And as far as Dahmen’s health is concerned?
“I’m really healthy,” he states. “I have no issues.”
The past is in the past. Time to look to the future.