Natalie Lopez | Posted: 15 Nov 2018 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Rasmussen takes steps towards PGA Tour dreams

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From a young age, golf has been a natural skill and passion for Rhett Rasmussen. As he’s grown up and gone on to play collegiately, Rasmussen has added mental strength while dealing with nerves and perfectionism on the course. This talent and focus brought him to compete in the U.S. Open and taken him closer to reaching his lifelong goal to make the PGA Tour.   

The stakes are high and the pressure is intensified as you’re on the green ready to putt. It takes extreme focus to ignore the eyes watching all around you and focus solely on your own game. Rasmussen has played on some of the biggest stages and learned how to calm his nerves even when thousands of people are watching.

The example he has set for his team as a player and leader all started from days on the course with his father and grandfather.

“I started playing golf when I was three years old,” Rasmussen said. “When my dad went to work, my grandpa would pick me up and take me to the course. I always loved it.”

Rasmussen’s father, Kevin, also took him out with his friends to play as a toddler. At first, the youngster would just hit golf balls on the range, but soon he was on the course. It didn’t take long before Rasmussen was fully invested in golf and knew that he had found his niche.

“I would watch it on TV and swing a toy club around the house,” Rasmussen said. “I played my first tournament when I was six and won. Ever since then it’s been my sport.”

“I always tell people he didn’t choose golf. Golf chose him,” said his mother, Michele. “From the time that he could pick up anything, it was a golf club. In his mind, he was formulating a plan of what he needed to do to be on the PGA Tour.”

Entering high school, Rasmussen continued to shine as a player on his school golf team. He spent his first year in Draper, Utah, at Alta High School and then continued his last three years at Corner Canyon High School. Under the tutelage of his coach, Todd Tanner, Rasmussen’s high school accomplishments included four-straight years winning region and an individual state championship his senior year. Rasmussen also won the 2015 Utah Golf Association Tournament of Champions and was named the 2015 UGA Men’s Player of the Year.

When it came to choosing BYU, Rasmussen and his family valued both the quality of the program and the coaches that would be positive role models in addition BYU’s history of putting golfers on the PGA Tour, including most recently Zac Blair and Daniel Summerhays.

“It was really important to use that he was with college coaches that had a lot of good qualities,” Michele said. “All the good qualities they have he can learn from because he spends so much time with them.”

Rasmussen joined BYU in 2016 and was quickly able to contribute his skills to the team. He individually won the Stanford Tournament, helped the team win the USF Olympic Intercollegiate Invitational and was named the 2017 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year.

The biggest accomplishment of his second season was qualifying and competing with the team at the NCAA Championships. It was the first time the BYU men’s golf team had made it to the national championships in eight years.

Now entering his junior season, Rasmussen’s favorite part of playing at BYU are the relationships he builds with his teammates and the support they show for each other. Celebrating a team win together has proven itself more rewarding than just an individual win.

“It’s nice to play well by yourself, but it’s so much better when the team does well, too, because then everyone’s happy,” Rasmussen explained. “You get to share that excitement with everyone.”

Rasmussen is known on the team as a skilled and responsible player, always striving to play his best so that it can ultimately benefit the team.

“He’s got a crazy good shot game,” said Rasmussen’s friend and teammate, Peter Kuest. “It’s fun to watch him hit a bunch of shots that you didn’t think could be pulled off. He just gets up there and hits them like they’re nothing.”

While Rasmussen had spent his career perfecting his game, his nerves were also put to the test when he competed in the 2018 US Open. After multiple qualifying rounds and beating out professional and other amateur players from around the country, Rasmussen secured his spot in the major as a 19 year old.

“He had to beat out the qualifiers from other states as well as PGA Tour players to get into the US Open,” said his father, Kevin. “He put together two really good rounds and beat out all these other players. He played his best golf to get there.”

Once he got to the US Open, it was a dream come true. Rasmussen had the opportunity to play with and learn from some of the best golfers in the country. The PGA Tour exposed him to a new level of intensity and focus that he normally didn’t see at smaller tournaments. His mental strength was tested as he learned to control the pressure while playing.

“Trying to get used to the nerves that you’re going to feel was hard,” Rasmussen said. “You can practice all you want by yourself, but you can’t get used to hitting a tee shot in front of hundreds of people. I felt like I handled the pressure really well.”

Rasmussen finished eighth among the 20 amateurs who competed. Qualifying for such a prestigious tournament proved to himself and the rest of the golf community that he could have what it takes to make it in the world of professional golf.

“For me it gave me all the confidence in the world that I can make the tour one day,” Rasmussen said.

Every tournament that Rasmussen has played in, including the US Open, has brought him closer to reaching his goals. His experiences at BYU have provided opportunities to learn from his teammates, be surrounded by influential coaches and progress in his competitive skills. 

Rasmussen has set team and individual goals this year to return to the NCAA Championships and become an All-American. With his focus and passion, he’s well on his way.

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