Inside Golf : Inside Golf Feb 2016
legends www.insidegolf.com.au | February 2016 31 Driving forward...Thomas changes gears H e didn’t start playing the game of golf until he was in his 30s, but Tomas Mezera has found his place on the e-Z-GO PGA Legends Tour and says it’s one of his biggest sporting achievements to date. This is a pretty big call for Mezera, who (as many will remember) was the V8 Supercar driver who won Australia’s biggest race, the Bathurst 1000, in 1988 alongside Tony Longhurst. A former teammate of Peter Brock and Holden Racing Team manager, Mezera was born in Czechoslovakia and arrived in Australia via an Austrian refugee camp in his early 20s. His dream at that time was to be an Olympic skier or Formula 1 driver. And while he didn’t make those milestones his life has been full of outstanding sporting achievements. On the golf course, he says his ambitions are more down to earth. “I’m not trying to win a tournament or pro-am, I have to be realistic because I’m not good enough, especially now with the calibre of players who are playing on the Legends Tour - guys like Rodger Davis, Wayne Grady, Peter Senior and Ian Baker-Finch. But I just can’t get enough of it; I could spend all day on the golf course,” Mezera said. “ When you look back at your life achievements sometimes the ones that are the biggest on paper aren’t the ones that you find yourself reflecting on. Sometimes you don’t win – a race or a tournament - but you can be more satisfied because you have done a really good job under the circumstances. That’s golf to me; I am not setting the world on fire but am really proud of what I’m achieving. “Mentally it’s the hardest thing I have ever done. I say that and people think I’m joking. I understand why. I mean, I used to drive a car at speeds up to 380kms an hour, and when you make a mistake in that type of situation it can have some pretty devastating consequences. But golf is different; it’s such a frustrating game. You’ve got too much time to think about it before you hit the ball and that’s the biggest problem with golf for me, because in motor racing you work on instinct...you don’t think about it because you don’t have time to think. But in golf it’s completely different; it’s all about confidence and sometimes you try to over think, which I find difficult.” Mezera turned his attention to golf when he turned 50 and earned his spot on the PGA Legends Tour via Qualifying School. After five years of finishing inside the top 60 players on the Tour, he has earned his PGA Membership. “It’s such an amazing achievement for me because there are so many good players coming through, more each year, and it’s not just the guys I spoke about above. There are players more than capable of beating them and they are doing really well. Guys like Craig Warren and David Hando who won tournaments but don’t have the same status because they weren’t able to win the majors. They are all very capable golfers and getting the chance to be out there on the course with them, playing in tournaments is a great experience,” Mezera said. “I think the Legends Tour is really gaining momentum. There are more and more players at all levels joining and more tournaments for them to play in with greater prize money, it’s a great time to be out there playing golf.” Mezera was recently awarded the David Mercer Award for services to the PGA Legends Tour; an honour he says still has him shocked. “I was so surprised, I thought ‘why me?’ I have always enjoyed looking after the people we play golf with; getting up and speaking about my time in motorsport, and people have always seemed to like it. But I never did it for any recognition. I just liked helping the Legends Tour in my own little way. “You meet so many people and it’s amazing how many of them follow motorsport and remember when I used to race and when I won Bathurst. If they get some enjoyment out of hearing me talk about those experiences, well, I’m just happy to do that. To receive an award for it was very surprising. But I’m quite chuffed. “I’m just so grateful to the PGA for this opportunity. At the age of 50 there aren’t many other sports where you can play in a professional tournament and it’s great to see a lot of other guys just like me giving it a go and sinking their time into it.” • Former V8 Supercar driver Tomas Mezera. For more information on the e-Z-GO PGA Legends Tour visit www.pga.org.au Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club For a limited time the renewed Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club will offer $79* pp including a state-of-the-art Visage GPS system motorised golf cart. Order your complimentary Bodega Burger from your shared golf cart and enjoy 3 Titleist DT Golf Balls! Visage GPS enriches your golf experience by feeding you live measurement and layout data on your personal in-cart display. To take advantage of this special deal and experience the new world-class Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club, please visit cypresslakes.com.au or call the Pro Shop direct on (02) 4993 1899 quoting InsideGolfFeb. Spring into 18 holes from *$79 at *Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid to 29 February 2016, 7 days a week. Blackout dates may apply.
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