European Tour golfer drives taxi to subsidise income

Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham May 6, 2015 11:59

One of the UK’s leading professional golfers drives a taxi in Scotland to help support his family.

It is a remarkable story that highlights the gulf in earnings between those at the very top in golf, and everyone else, including even those just behind.

taxi kris krug

Image by Kris Krug

Last month’s Sunday Times ‘rich list’ found that two golfers are in sport’s top ten richest individuals – as both Rory McIlroy and Sir Nick Faldo are worth £38 million each.

But in an interview with The Scotsman, former Scottish Amateur champion Callum Macaulay, who came second in a European Tour event in 2008, winning a cheque for nearly £80,000, has revealed that due to a change in fortunes on the golf circuit and the birth of a baby son, plus a mortgage to pay, he has been driving a taxi since last October.

My swing has always been unorthodox and distinctive,” he said. “Now my head simply isn’t ‘there’ any more. I’ve lost all confidence as far as my golfing ability is concerned. And because my swing is the way that it is, I’ve got nothing to fall back on technique-wise.

“When I first turned pro, I was staying at home and had no real worries about anything.

“I was in free-flow. In 2009, I was doing OK on the European Tour and suddenly all this money began to appear in my bank account. I thought I should do something with it. So I bought a nice car and a flat. Then I got married. All of sudden, my responsibilities changed. Bills started coming in. Which made me think I’d better play better to pay for it all. I was experiencing ‘real life’ for the first time.

“So my mistake in 2009 was thinking too much about how much money I would have to win to keep my card. That was silly. It was the first year of the ‘Race to Dubai’ so the big names were playing a lot in Europe and 
no one really knew how much cash it would take. Like everyone else, I was guessing.

“Anyway, I remember finishing about 35th in the Dunhill Links and feeling like I was within touching distance of keeping my card. That was fine, but I had gone from trying to win to trying to make the cut – a massive mistake. I could write a book on how many errors I made back then.

“I always looked up to Monty. I asked him for the most important thing he would tell anyone about to turn pro, as I was. He said only three words, ‘never change anything’. But I didn’t listen.

“The plan going forward is to feel right inside myself before I can think about golf. Playing on the tour seems a million miles away right now. I really need to save some cash and give myself time to practise. But I have my wife and son to think about. I have to do what is right for them.

“What keeps me going is that, if I get my head right, I know I could still do it. But this is not the time. I will come to the inevitable crossroads at some point and have to make a firm decision either way.

“I’m not looking for any sympathy. I am where I am because of my own silly mistakes. What I do know for sure is that I want to be involved in golf, even if I’m not playing. I can’t really live without it.”


Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham May 6, 2015 11:59
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