Ewan Porter - changing directions
BY Bruce Young | 14 May 2012
Australian golfer Ewan Porter has recently announced his decision to quit the game and pursue a career in Sports Media.
Porter was a player good enough to win twice on the Nationwide Tour in addition to many other highlights at amateur and professional level.
While still coming to terms with his decision to give up on his dreams of golfing glory, Porter is completing a book about his journey through a roller coaster career but one in which he achieved a level of success millions of golfers worldwide could only dream of.
I have often written about Porter’s game that when he was good he was very good and when he was bad well then he was horrible.
It highlighted a personality that appeared unable to achieve the level of consistency both on and off the golf course needed to maintain a career and sanity on the road that is professional golf.
He has already tried his hand at commentary and showed that he had a flare for it. That is one thing, developing that into a full career in sports television is another.
He has recently had screen tests here in Australia and is awaiting further notice.
The book, as yet unpublished, is a lengthy one and I have read much of it but Porter has agreed to the publication of a few pertinent sections to offer an insight into just what lies within a detailed account of his journey.
The Book (selected parts)
There’s something very blissful about youthful exuberance. What may be perceived as naivety to some, stubbornness to others, could also be classified as sheer confidence or brashness.
Whilst it is not uncommon for children and teenagers to set their sights on global domination, the reality is a more normal existence awaits them. However, a select minority will always have the determination and passion, not to mention the skills required to make their presence felt on international shores.
Playing professional golf was always going to be the path I chose from the age of fifteen. Despite the best efforts of my school teachers informing me that statistically around one in ten thousand succeed in professional sports, I would simply shrug my shoulders with a “what would you know” attitude.
There were always those wise ones willing to tell me how as soon as I turned eighteen, alcohol and women would divert my focus for good. Then you had the select bunch who would say “but what will you do for a real job”?
Growing up in a small, suburban Sydney beach town was never going to be an easy road to take in order to conquer my dreams. Nor was it a case of having my back to the wall from early on.
Basically, anyone hailing from Australia who harbors an ambition to succeed overseas, has to always navigate their way through many barriers and routinely avoid forks in the road. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing and as I reflect on the past decade I have spent touring the world, it’s easy to see where I began to make life harder for myself than it needed to be………
Thousands of golfers across the globe harbor ambitions to succeed as a professional. The pursuits most individuals embark on lead to unstable lives and many sacrifices.
Sometimes, it’s all worth it whilst the majority of the time it all leads to a dead end.
What being a professional golfer does provide is countless stories and tales of a life spent chasing a little white ball around. How the seemingly joyous activity to most can come so close to destroying lives and deliver enduring heartache……..
It was on the journey back to my home land that I had ample time reflect on exactly what the past decade as a golf professional had brought me. Yes I endured countless setbacks and many, many occasions where I wondered whether it was all worth it, but the one thing that kept me going was attempting to one day realize the dream of competing on the USPGA Tour.
However, by age twenty nine, the desire to achieve that dream had severely diminished. Of course this was the third time in three years that I had quit the tour and many people believed that this may be just another break from the game.
But the hunger was gone and I was determined to set about following a career path I enjoyed. I wanted to lead a lifestyle that was fun because from years 2008 through to 2012, those parts of my life evaporated.
I wasn’t even on the PGA Tour and spent in excess of $300,000 in 2010 and 2011 combined. It’s very difficult to be making a living and profiting when you are spending that kind of money out of your own pocket. Since capturing the Moonah Classic in 2008, I was financially unstable as well as physically and emotionally drained from the constant battles.
In my ten years as a professional and prior to my thirtieth birthday, I had made sixty two flights to and from the United States. I had made twenty three flights between Australia and Asia plus domestic flights worldwide that would tally well over one thousand.
I had been on almost one hundred planes alone back in 2010 and I had lived in each corner of the United States- Arizona, Washington State, Florida and New York.
Each week was a different hotel, a different airport, a different golf course, a different rental car but somehow it all felt the same. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence to walk to a car park and have no idea which car was mine or to even arrive back at my hotel from a hard day’s work and not remember which room number I was staying in.
The monotony of the daily grind that is professional golf had taken its toll and I was officially burnt out.
I flew home to Australia holding my head high that I had achieved some pretty remarkable things in the sport. I had also accumulated numerous memories from my days on the road that will stay with me forever…….
All the indecision in my life and concern about my future had me reflecting back to when I turned professional. Whilst it was fantastic that I dreamed so big and harboured so much energy and confidence, I now wish that I had have had a Plan B.
As I mentioned earlier, having that mentor or someone who had travelled down this pathway for a career would have no doubt helped stabilize the ride and had it following a smoother road.
For all my plans of world domination and countless millions, I never would have envisioned that at the age of 29, I’d be sitting on the couch at my parent’s place in Sydney’s south wondering where my life was heading.
I have written a book that I hope will open people’s eyes to what the majority of professional athletes go through in order to achieve their dreams.
I dearly want to be a television presenter. I would love nothing more than to travel the world and either write, or host a show on the world’s most extreme golf destinations. At the moment though, these are all dreams that seem a million miles away.
One thing I don’t have in me though is surrender- golf included. We are put on this planet once and I have every intention of succeeding at some point in time.
This time though, I may look for some guidance.
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