Golfers are a lucky bunch. They get paid to do what they love and get paid well. While we look forward to a small pay rise, a discount at our favorite store or a sports betting bonus at our favorite bookmaker, the golf fraternity have caddies, excellent earning potential and the admiration of the golfing world.
Yet, all these perks and an appealing working life is not enough to keep some golfers striding down the fairway. Many golfers have disappeared from the scene, either retiring really early or just disappearing from the game.
This post is a throwback to them. Expect some ‘oh yeah, what happened to them’ moments.
- Anthony Kim: One of the biggest disappearing acts from the PGA Tour is Anthony Kim. With an impressive CV boasting Ryder Cup success against Sergio Garcia and three PGA Tour tournament victories, he was certainly a talent to behold. Kim has not played in a professional tournament since 2012 when he was in his mid-20s.
- Lorena Ochoa: Lorena Ochoa as no stranger to the podium with a mass of victories including 27 LPGA titles - two of which were major victories. After three years as the number-one ranked female golfer in the world, she quit at 28 years old to begin a family. This is not an uncommon story within the female game, but for the world No. 1 to do it is remarkable.
- Bobby Jones: Bobby Jones exploded onto the amateur scene with a staggering championship success rate of over 50 percent. Of course, 1930 was his best year where he triumphed with the Grand Slam - US Amateur, US Open, British Amateur and British Open. He retired with a fresh face at just 28 years old.
- Bryon Nelson: Mr. Nelson was renowned for his consistency and in one whole season averaged a score of 68.3. The same season included 18 wins and seven second-place finishes. What was next for the 34-year-old? Go back to work on his ranch, of course -- the aptly named the Fairway Ranch, we might add.
- Johnny Miller: Johnny Miller was another of the greats that has 25 wins to his name, including two major title victories. However, he started to give up the game for an array of reasons. One was to concentrate on being a father to his six children. Another reason was to start a broadcasting job after finding trouble with the putter. Although older than the others on the list at 42, Johnny Miller could still play well when he went into the 18th tower.
Many of the golfers on this list made difficult decisions to walk away from the game. They showed that despite following your passion, there are some occasions and bigger things that is worth more attention.
Johnny Miller famously said when he got to the top he didn’t know what was next and compared himself to other greats that got to the top and wondered where the next mountain is. He learned he was not one of those people.
While the golf world would love to see Anthony Kim play again and Lorena Ochoa tee it up competitively beyond the occasional appearance, part of the legend of these greats was their decision to walk away when the time was right for them.