OGDEN — For years, Top of Utah’s Stuart Gold hoped to some day be recognized as one of the best golfers in the world.
He also had a goal to kick a substance abuse problem that haunted him for years.
In October, Gold may prove he’s accomplished both.
The 26-year-old Centerville native, who now lives in Ogden, was selected to compete on the 18th season of Golf Channel’s popular television series, Big Break. The cast, which features 12 professional golfers with a wide range of accomplishments, was announced on Monday. The show debuts on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
“It was freaking awesome (to be a part of the show),” Gold said on Monday in a phone interview from his Ogden home.
“For me, it is my chance to prove to myself and my family that I have the game to make it to the PGA Tour,” said Gold in a statement released by the Golf Channel. “And more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to share my story on recovering from drug addiction.”
“It was a long, horrible and (expletive) battle,” Gold told the Standard-Examiner about his substance abuse and addiction to pain killers. “I’m glad to be past it.”
Gold taped the show in mid-June at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. The series showcases golfers pitted against each other in several golf-related skills challenges, with the winner earning cash and an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2013 Greenbrier Classic.
“I think I can tell you this ... everyone (on the show) is a super good golfer,” Gold said, admitting he couldn’t reveal too much due to his contractual obligations with the show. “It was pretty nerve-racking.”
Gold admitted he is nervous to watch how his personality comes across on television.
“They better pay the editor a lot of money,” Gold joked, referring to his, at times, boisterous actions. “They may have to show a lot of golf and not much talking.”
But in the Golf Channel press release, Gold said, “Now that I am a new father and husband, I want to make my family proud, both on and off the golf course. If I can get through to one person about my journey (overcoming addiction), then it is all worth it.”
Gold, who lost in the finals of the 2010 Utah State Amateur to Joe Parkinson at Alpine Country Club, turned professional a little more than a year ago. He briefly moved to Chicago and has been playing on the Golfweek National Pro Golf Tour alongside a handful of other Utah golf pros.
He said he has been battling a severe case of tendinitis in his wrist — to the point he wears a removable cast — but hopes to return in plenty of time for PGA Q-school in the fall.
Gold married his bride Cassie two weeks ago. He has a 2-year-old son named Jace,
The other contestants on the show include: Ray Beaufils, 25, Phoenix, Ariz. / Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia; Derek Bohlen, 27, Fountain Hills, Ariz.; Anthony Casalino, 32, Yonkers, N.Y.; Rick Cochran, 25, Paducah, Ky.; Brian Cooper, 45, Phoenix, Ariz. / Pittsburgh, Pa.; Liam Friedman, 25, Lackawanna, N.Y.; James Lepp, 28, Abbotsford, British Columbia; Isaac Sanchez, 33, Folsom, Calif.; Mark Silvers, 25, Savannah, Ga.; Chan Song, 29, Cartersville, Ga.; and, Michael Tobiason, 28, Wilmington, Del.