PROVING it’s never too late, English amateur golfer Gary Wolstenholme has decided to turn pro at the ripe old age of 48.
Wolstenholme, one of the world’s best known and most successful amateurs, gained further notoriety earlier this year when he was called in as first alternate for the U.S. Open.
Much was made of the fact that while some of his fellow competitors were swanning around in their private jets, the cash strapped and acknowledged quirky Englishman was found dining on the free sandwiches in the locker room because he couldn’t afford to eat out.
Wolstenholme is England’s most capped amateur and also famously beat Tiger Woods in the 1995 Walker Cup.
he revelled in the irritation he caused to young opponents, who would berate themselves for being outplayed by an old man who was so short off the tee
“I have been thinking about turning pro when I get to 50 for some time,” Wolstenholme said this week. “And then I thought to myself, ‘There is not much more to do.’ I have won 218 caps for England, won the Amateur Championship twice, as well as more than 70 tournaments on all five continents.
“I was 48 last month and I suddenly thought, ‘I am not preparing myself properly for when I am 50. My golf is not improving. Why don’t I turn pro now?’ And so I did.”
Wolstenholme has entered the first stage of the European Tour qualifying school in Scotland and has already received an invitation to the Kazakhstan Open on the Challenge Tour and hopes he might then play on the main circuit at the Portugal Masters next month.
Wolstenholme is trying to sell his house to raise some operating expenses and is back living with his mother in Lancashire to save money.
“It’s a little bit frightening because it’s a massive change, but it’s also hugely exciting,” he said.
Wolstenholme is know for his personal foibles and talkativeness -he travels with his own pillow and listens attentively to his biorhythms.
According to the TimesOnline he is also known for being one of the shortest hitters to reach the top of the amateur game.
“To compensate, he developed exceptional accuracy and a devastating short game to go with good mid-iron play. In addition – and this is not an insignificant attribute – he has always risen to the occasion. He loved the limelight, even when he was being outdriven, and at matchplay he revelled in the irritation he caused to young opponents, who would berate themselves for being outplayed by an old man who was so short off the tee,” the TimesOnline said