Fear of fly­ing re­stricts Ger­man Tour Pro

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Inside The Ropes -

Ger­man golfer Flo­rian Fritsch had one of the most un­usual cam­paigns on the Euro­pean Tour in 2016. He kept his tour card de­spite hav­ing an acute fear of fly­ing, which re­stricted him to just 12 tour­na­ments he could reach with­out go­ing near an air­port. What started with a scary flight in 2005 led to him in 2010 be­ing un­able to even get on a plane. Fritsch then quit pro­fes­sional golf and went home. But after eight months of work­ing at Hei­del­berg Golf Club, Fritsch gave pro golf an­other shot, get­ting into Q School and earn­ing his Euro­pean Tour card for the first time. He tried a mix of fly­ing and driv­ing for a cou­ple of years – as well as med­i­ca­tion and 12 dif­fer­ent types of ther­apy – but he hasn’t set foot on a plane since the be­gin­ning of 2013. In­stead, he drives to events, rack­ing up an av­er­age of 40 000 kilo­me­tres in his BMW each year. And he doesn’t plan on chang­ing his travel plans. When asked what he would do if he qual­i­fied for the Mas­ters, Fritsch said he would spend a week get­ting to Au­gusta via boat and car. “I’m tak­ing the ‘must’ out of the sit­u­a­tion. Now that you have a full tour card, you must fly again. You must do this and that. And I’m like, ‘No. I’m go­ing to do this on my own terms,’ ” Fritsch says. “When I feel like the time is right to do the ther­apy again, I’ll do it. But un­til then, I’m go­ing to go the way I like to go.”

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