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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Maybe life as a tour professional is just not for me'

Disillusioned Michele Thomson

taking complete break from golf

It seems like only a month or two since Michele Thomson was at her peak as an amateur golfer ... impressive winner of the Scottish ladies' title at Lossiemouth and then one of four Scots in the Great Britain & Ireland team for the historic Curtis Cup match against the United States over the Old Course, St Andrews.
In fact it was May 2008 and things look so different now ... Michele actually beat Tiger Woods by a few months in deciding to give up golf indefinitely.
She has not played since September, but the 21-year-old from Ellon, daughter of a now US-based oil executive, didn’t display her decision on a personal website or through an agent.
Instead of competing at La Manga, Spain this week at the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School after a rookie pro season in which she won 8,772 Euros from seven starts and finished 108th of 163 in the money table - not enough to retain her playing rights for 2010, Michele is quite happy and content, sitting at home in Aberdeenshire.
Happy and content despite no longer playing the game that put her name in the sporting headlines, both locally and nationally, as an amateur.
Michele explains:
“During 2009 I became very disillusioned with golf. After really enjoying the competitive and social side of my amateur golf career it seemed that after the experience of the Curtis Cup joining the pro ranks was the natural way forward.
“Maybe it was a step too soon, but then again maybe life as a golf tour pro is just not for me. I don’t know. I played in just seven Ladies European Tour events this year, did fairly well and at the end of the year I just missed out on securing full playing rights for 2010.
“I never felt out of place on the LET and I believe my game was good enough to make a living playing golf. But I was just not enjoying life on the tour and everyone around me was telling me if you don’t like it, don’t do it.”
Michele then revealed that she has had not a golf club in her hands for the best part of three months – and she does not plan to end her self-imposed break from the game in the near future.
“My situation worsened in September when my grandmother passed away and since then I have not picked up a golf club although I am still interested enough in the news from the golf scene,” continued Michele.
“I regularly check how everyone is doing, both in the pro ranks and on the amateur circuit. But my immediate plans have nothing to do with golf. I am really enjoying the complete break, the first I have had away from golf since I was 13.
“I have told my coach, Neil Marr, that I will reconsider the situation again in May 2010. If I feel like trying again I will get ready for Tour School at the end of next year but for now I plan to sit back and support, from long range, the Scottish girls at Tour School this week and all my former Curtis Cup colleagues in the pro ranks next year.”