By MATTHEW WEITZEL
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Former University of Iowa golfer and assistant coach Jeff Schmid was at the driving range at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville Thursday afternoon preparing for back-to-back PGA major championships in the state of New York.
Schmid, who is currently the teaching pro at Brown Deer, will hop in his car on Saturday for a 15-hour drive to Long Island for one of golf’s four majors — the PGA Championship, May 13-19, at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. Schmid will then compete in the Senior PGA Championship, May 21-26, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.
“I always wanted to play in a major,” said Schmid. “I’ve been close a bunch of times and being 50, time is running out for me.”
Schmid qualified for next week’s PGA Championship by virtue of his eighth place finish at the PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina, last week.
“I was a little emotional coming off the course last week,” Schmid said. “To play that well under the pressure and the golf course that we played, it felt really good. I’m proud of how I handled the pressure and I hope it continues.”
After last week’s performance, Schmid said a number of people reached out to him to offer congratulations.
“Tyler Stith told me that the golf team was excited when they heard about it,” Schmid said. “Zach Johnson sent me a nice text as well.”
Schmid was a team captain and four-year lettermen with the Hawkeyes (1987-90). Schmid earned All-Big Ten honors in 1989. He received medalist honors at six tournaments during his Hawkeye career. Schmid returned to Iowa City in 2016, serving as an assistant coach for two seasons. He helped guide the Hawkeyes to an NCAA Regional appearance in 2017, and helped mentor Iowa to three top-three finishes, including a third place finish at the Big Ten Championships in 2018.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native knows that Bethpage Black presents a number of challenges.
“It is long. It has small greens. It is really hard,” said Schmid. “Because I’m not the longest, hitting the fairways is going to be a premium. I’m going to be hitting long irons in. If I’m missing fairways, it’s going to be really difficult.”
Schmid is the second former Hawkeye and Brown Deer pro to qualify for the PGA Championship in as many years; Sean McCarty earned a spot in last year’s tournament at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
“This tournament is one of the strongest fields in golf,” said Schmid. “I want to give myself an opportunity to make the cut. I’m representing the PGA of America and I want to play well.”
Schmid said that his wife and current Iowa women’s tennis head coach, Sasha Schmid, and two daughters will fly out to support Jeff. Sasha will be in the gallery at the PGA Championship and will be on Jeff’s bag at the Senior PGA as his caddy the following week.
“It’s hard to get the competitiveness out of your system,” Schmid said. “It’s cool to say that this happened and that I’ve done this. I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”