Curtis Luck 'bit more comfortable' after adversity on PGA Tour

Curtis Luck contested the Web.com Tour Championship at Atlantic Beach Country Club in September. Michael Cohen/Getty Images

SYDNEY, Australia -- Twelve months ago, Curtis Luck was among the hottest golf properties on the planet.

After winning the US Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur championships in 2016 his schedule was plotted all the way to the 2017 Masters, including invitations to play tour events in Europe, Asia and the US.

He played with Jordan Spieth and Geoff Ogilvy in the first two rounds of last year's Australian Open at Royal Sydney and bettered them both. Luck eventually finished tied-11th, five shots behind Spieth, with a Saturday 74 his undoing.

Twelve months on he's a fully-fledged professional, but no longer the shooting star. His official World Golf Ranking is 374.

Luck's last start on the PGA Tour came at the Barracuda Championship at the start of August. He had missed the cut at his previous two starts, by a single shot, just as he did in his first start as a professional at the Valero Texas Open. He made his last professional start, before heading to Sydney, as defending champion of the Western Australian Open, a $AUD100,000 total purse event on the Australasian PGA Tour in his home town of Perth.

But the experiences of the last year have held him in good stead.

"My golf probably wasn't quite as good as it was last year, but that's all part of it," Luck said.

"I'm feeling really good though now, I've spent the last five weeks at home getting ready, so hopefully I'll be ready to go next year, mainly for the 2018 Web.com season."

Luck has conditional status on the Web.com tour for 2018 and will try to improve his position at the final stage of Q-School in December after playing back-to-back weeks in Australia.

Uncertainty of schedule is brutal for any pro without the security blanket of a tour card. Even harder for a 21-year-old, living 11,375 miles from his home town, which is one of the most isolated cities in the world.

"I played a few events this season where I was on the edge of knowing if I was playing the next week or not," Luck said.

"I'd be out playing my tournament round and I would know that there was potentially a phone call waiting for me when I finished to say you've got to fly out tomorrow to play this.

"I know that got to me a little bit at Memorial this year.

"Memorial finished [Luck finished Tied 73], I played the US Open qualifying in Columbus as well, the same state, Monday, 36 holes, then got a call Monday afternoon saying you're playing in Tennessee this week. So, I flew Tuesday, didn't get a practice round, rocked up and played Thursday. I can say it probably got to me that week."

Luck missed the cut and made the bold decision to fly 26 hours straight home to Perth to see his family.

"It made a big difference, just to be home for nine days and head back over [to the US] with a with a fresh mindset ready to go," Luck said.

"So, next year I would love to get back home more than I did this year."

Luck has an ally in Orlando, where his housemate is Australian teenage touring pro Ryan Ruffels.

Their schedules haven't matched up yet, with Ruffels slogging away on the PGA Latin America tour, which in itself shows the fine margins between the elite and those wanting to join the ranks.

"It's just one of those things," Luck said. "Golf is a sport where sometimes you don't have to do a whole lot wrong and it looks bad from the outside.

"I spend so much time with him that I can honestly say there's not much going wrong. I can play with him on a week off at Isleworth and by the end of the week I don't want to play him for money anymore because he's just taking my cash.

"He's down in Latin America and he's also been juggling starts on the US PGA Tour. That is, I think, another interesting thing that he's been dealing with. Maybe potentially he could put a bit more focus into one or the other, it might be good for him this season.

"I think it's just getting around a new lifestyle, travelling so much, being away from home, in a sense, by yourself, takes time to get your head around."

For now, Luck has to wrap his head around battling Spieth and Jason Day in the Australian Open at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

"I feel a little bit more comfortable out here," he said.

"I've yet again had a great year of playing really great events, so I should be ready to go and hopefully my game keeps going in the direction it feels it is this week and I can post some low numbers."