One of the things that professional sports stars often remark upon when their careers come to an end is just how much they miss the blood pumping of competition.
Some never truly get over it, hence why there are so many sporting comebacks – particularly in boxing, even when those involved might be best advised to stay on the sofa.
Andy Murray is the latest to contemplate retirement. At 33 and following numerous serious injuries and surgeries, the tennis ace knows that his time in the sport is coming to an end.
And so he has started to consider what his post-tennis career might look like….and admits he is seriously considering becoming a caddie on the PGA TOUR when his career on the court is done.
“I love sport, so something else that would interest me post-playing would be working in another sport,” he told The Gentleman’s Journal.
“I got asked about this a little while ago and, because I really like golf, being a caddie on a golf tour would be exciting – to be up close and personal with top golfers and to learn about another sport like that.”
It won’t be long before he’s inundated with offers you suspect – who wouldn’t want to have a proven champion on their bag? – and Justin Rose, another major winner, has already moved in….albeit asking Murray to caddie for him in the BMW Championship pro-am.
— Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) March 30, 2021
Whether Murray has any golfing ability remains to be seen, but if he decided to try and turn pro himself later in life he would be in good company – many sporting stars have attempted to become a professional golfer after they have retired from their ‘day job’.
While not a household name to British sports fans, Tony Romo is something of a legend in the NFL after playing as a quarterback for the mighty Dallas Cowboys.
When his career in American football ended, Romo turned to his second love of golf and attempted to make it in the pro ranks at the tender age of 37.
And he’s not done too badly. Aided by some sponsors’ invites, Romo has appeared in a handful of PGA Tour events. And while he hasn’t pulled up any trees, he hasn’t completely embarrassed himself either.
While he’s still very much part of an elite band of players in snooker, Shaun Murphy spends a decent amount of time out on the golf course when he’s not on the green baize.
And it seems to be working out for him – Murphy even competed in qualifying for the Open Championship back in 2019, but lost out in a regional qualifier won by Dylan Keating, the nephew of former Boyzone warbler Ronan.
Snooker players can go on well into their fifties, so there’s no sign that the world championship will swap his cue for the clubs any time soon in the pro ranks. But he can clearly play….
You know Ivan Lendl, the gangly Czech that won eight tennis majors in the 1980s.
He was another for whom the competitive juices continued to flow after his retirement, and so the more sedate pace of golf was where he turned next.
While competing on various mini and senior tours, Lendl was invited to play in the Czech Open once, but a disastrous opening round of 82 ended any hopes of making the cut. He stopped playing professional golf shortly after.
Ask boxing fans of a certain vintage and they’ll tell you that Joe Louis is one of the best ever to lace up the gloves.
The ‘Brown Bomber’ compiled a 65-3 record – almost unthinkable in the heavyweight division these days, and he reigned as world champion for more than a decade in the 1930s and 40s.
When he hung up the gloves, Louis wasn’t done and he had aspirations of becoming the first boxer – and the first African-American – to play on the PGA Tour became a reality when he teed it up at the San Diego Open.
And in 1951, he won the USGA amateur title – no mean feat and a road many PGA Tour pros have since taken.
Another Grand Slam winner in tennis that swapped racquets for clubs, Yevgeny Kafelnikov had about as much success as Lendl in his new-found sport.
The Russian was invited to play in numerous professional tournaments, including his home Open and those of Austria and the Czech Republic, however he missed the cut on all occasions.
Fans of 1990s football will remember Julian Dicks – the hard nut West Ham left back that took no prisoners and had one of the most uncompromising penalty kicks in the sport.
For all his physicality on the football pitch, Dicks had a nice sleight of hand on the golf course and was so good he played off scratch handicap.
So he announced his intention of becoming a professional golfer when his football days ended, however a catalogue of knee injuries meant he was never able to fulfil his potential in the game.
Absolute football anoraks may just remember Stephen Grant, who came through the youth ranks at Sunderland before enjoying stints at Stockport Count (back when they were a Football League club) and Burnley.
He enjoyed a decent career in his native Ireland, winning Under-21 caps for the country, but Grant always felt his future was in golf and retired from football at the young age of 27.
And his time on the course has gone pretty well. He once qualified for the Challenge Tour – the second-tier of the sport in Europe, and even boasts the course record at the Rosses Point course.