Here, we look at some who stepped away to follow other pursuits
11 Former Golfers Who Have Changed Careers
Golf is rare among sports in that professionals are able to enjoy extremely long careers, but not all pro golfers battle away indefinitely.
Here, we look at some who stepped away to follow other pursuits…
Healthcare business entrepreneur?
Turned pro: 2006
Highest world ranking: 6
Achievements: 3 PGA Tour wins; 2008 Ryder Cup winner.
The story: Kim was one of golf’s most exciting prospects not long ago, but he suffered injury and turned away from the game. He spoke to the Golf Channel in 2015, calling golf a “fond memory” and saying it was possible he’d played his last PGA Tour round aged 26. Recently, it has been reported he is involved in a Dallas-based healthcare business venture with friend and former caddie, Brodie Flanders. A video of Kim’s swing went viral in the summer although it later came out that it was a couple of years old.
This video of his instantly recognisable swing emerged online last year from 2016:
Kim was quoted as saying his golf game was “non-existent” earlier this year when spotted in California.
Turned pro: 1995
Highest world ranking: 34
Achievements: Two-time European Tour winner and runner-up at the 2012 USPGA Championship
The story: Two years after picking up a cheque for €750,000 for his second place finish to Rory McIlroy in the 2012 USPGA Championship, Englishman David Lynn had retired. “That cheque was already spent before I’d won it,” Lynn recalled with enthusiasm. “The month before I’d bought 14 flats in Lancashire and I’d also bought the home where I’m living now, so I’d had quite a spend! He now owns 35 properties but hasn’t given up on the idea of playing on the Senior Tour one day.
Golf course architect
Turned pro: 1989
Highest world ranking: 26
Achievements: 3 European Tour victories; 2002 Ryder Cup winner.
The story: The Swede enjoyed success on the European Tour around the turn of the century and qualified for the 2002 Ryder Cup, earning a singles half against Davis Love III at The Belfry. He retired from pro golf in 2007 and moved into golf course design.
Jean van de Velde
Turned pro: 1987
Highest world ranking: 71
Achievements: 1999 Open runner-up.
The story: The Frenchman, famed for his meltdown at Carnoustie, played his last European Tour event in 2011. Although he entered two senior events in 2016, he has pretty much put down his competitive clubs. He has worked as a commentator and pundit and, in 2012, he was named as an ambassador for UNICEF France. He was only the second French sportsman to take such a position, following footballer Lilian Thuram.
Management and consultancy
Turned pro: 1996
Highest world ranking: Never made the top 100
Achievements: 1995 Amateur Champion; 1995 Walker Cup winner; played in The Open at St Andrews in 1995 and The Masters in 1996.
The story: Although no longer playing competitively, 6ft 8in Sherry’s life remains in golf. He manages various players, including Sandy Lyle, is involved in golfing business ventures and consultancy and is an accomplished after-dinner speaker.
Businessman and philanthropist
Turned pro: 1976
Highest world ranking: 1
Achievements: 88 professional tournament wins, including two Majors.
The story: You could argue no other pro has diversified as much as Greg Norman. His Great White Shark Enterprises encompasses course design, clothing, wine making, property, restaurants, wake-boarding complexes and even prime Wagyu steaks! He also has a charitable foundation and is involved in other philanthropic endeavours.
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Turned pro: 1982
Highest world ranking: 23
Achievements: 4 PGA Tour victories, including the 1990 Players Championship; tied for 4th in the 1990 Open Championship; shot 63 in the final round of the 1991 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
The story: Mudd played his last PGA Tour event in 1996 at the age of just 36. A native of Kentucky, he walked away from the game to buy a horse farm and breed and train thoroughbred horses. Mudd briefly returned to competitive action to play a few events on the Champions Tour in 2010.
Turned pro: 2001
Highest world ranking: 46
Achievements: 3 European Tour wins, including the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2007.
The story: After developing a debilitating block off the tee, the Englishman lost his card in 2011 and struggled to re-find form. He last played on the European Tour at the 2016 Dunhill Links. Dougherty now works for Sky Sports as one of its leading commentators, interviewers and experts.
Turned pro: 1993
Highest world ranking: 12
Achievements: 2005 US Open champion; 15 professional victories including eight on the European Tour.
The story: The New Zealander retired from top-level professional golf in 2015. He now runs a golfing academy at Villa Padierna near Puerto Banus in Spain, where he hosts coaching days and even week-long coaching trips. Campbell turned 50 in February 2019 and has begun to play some senior golf. He shot 59 in the lead up to the Senior Open at Kilspindie.
Turned pro: 1981
Highest world ranking: 86 weeks in top ten
Achievements: 29 professional wins; seven top-ten Major finishes.
The story: Frost still plays senior golf, but he’s also a successful winemaker. Many players have given their name to a wine, but Frost comes from a winemaking family. In 1997, he purchased a 300-acre vineyard in South Africa’s Paarl region.
Director of Golf
Turned pro: 1997
Highest world ranking: 105
Achievements: 2008 Spanish Open winner; 2nd four times on tour.
The story: After 13 full seasons on the European Tour, Lawrie decided to hang up his spikes at the end of 2016. He took a post as director of golf at Luttrellstown Castle Resort, just 10km from the centre of Dublin.
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