My life in golf: Alan Shearer

The for­mer Eng­land and New­cas­tle leg­end on pro-am nerves, his an­nual trip to Au­gusta and play­ing with the ‘an­gry’ Ian Wright


The Pre­mier League leg­end is also a handy six hand­i­cap­per.

Alan Shearer is one of the best strik­ers this coun­try has ever pro­duced. He scored 283 league goals in a glit­ter­ing ca­reer that in­cluded a record 260 in the Pre­mier League, a record 11 top-flight hat­tricks and a to­tal of 422 in all com­pe­ti­tions. He won 63 Eng­land caps, scored 30 goals and had a goal­sto-game ra­tio of 0.667 through­out his ca­reer. He hung up his boots in 2006 and nowa­days he’s an in­sight­ful Match

of the Day pun­dit with a burn­ing pas­sion to im­prove his golf, start­ing in front of the Ge­ordie fans when he tees it up in the Bri­tish Mas­ters Hero Proam at his home course, Close House, on Septem­ber 27. I do love my golf. Wher­ever I go, my clubs go with me, that’s the deal. “How many bags have you got?” Two… and one is my golf bag! I play off six; some­times bet­ter, but most times worse.

I think it’s a fair hand­i­cap, though. Golf can be a deeply frus­trat­ing game. Con­fi­dence­wise it’s sim­i­lar to foot­ball; when things are go­ing well for you, you just put your ball down and hit it with­out think­ing about it too much. In foot­ball you take your shot and if it’s go­ing for you, it goes in. I don’t think I’ve ever been as ner­vous in my life as when I played in my first Went­worth BMW Pro-am.

I’ve taken penal­ties in front of 90,000 fans at Wem­b­ley in Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship semis, but noth­ing com­pares to stand­ing on that first tee with Lee West­wood and De­clan Don­nelly. Ant was go­ing to play, but I got there early in the morn­ing and sent him a text mes­sage ad­vis­ing him not to wear white trousers in front of 20,000 peo­ple! So he didn’t come… We roped Pat Jen­nings in as a late sub­sti­tute. I was shak­ing like a leaf… with 20,000 peo­ple around, you don’t want to make a prat of your­self! I’m shak­ing as I’m putting the ball on the tee. I stood be­hind it and thought I’d never nor­mally tee it so high, but I couldn’t go back down in case I couldn’t get the ball back on the tee! Luck­ily I hit it straight down the mid­dle and opened up with a par. My favourite club is a 20-year-old Call­away Hawk Eye 7-wood.

I love it. The new Call­away wedges also take pride of place in my bag – they’re cus­tom-made for me, with No.9 in black and white on the back (New­cas­tle colours). I’m spoilt. I’m like ev­ery­one else – as soon as new clubs come out, I’m keen to test them. You can play golf all over the world – wher­ever you go there al­ways seems to be a great course or two. Then it’s about the peo­ple you play with. I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to play with some great golfers over the years in­clud­ing the last Ry­der Cup cap­tain Dar­ren Clarke at Close House, which was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. You’re out in the fresh air and with a ban on mo­biles on the course no­body can get hold of you… and that’s why I love it. I man­aged to get some qual­ity golf in dur­ing last year’s Eu­ros in Paris. As the tour­na­ment went on we got more days off be­cause of the knock­out stages. I’d never as­so­ci­ated Paris with hav­ing great cour­ses, but we played four and they were top-class. I was lucky enough to play in the Pro-am at Le Golf Na­tional along­side West­wood. Saint Nom-laBretèche was beau­ti­ful, as was Paris In­ter­na­tional (though no­body had heard of it, Westy in­cluded). It was BBC v ITV and Dan Walker and my­self were un­beaten against Ian Wright and Lee Dixon. Close House is a beau­ti­ful course and looks mag­nif­i­cent ahead of the Bri­tish Mas­ters. It’s only 15 min­utes from my house and it’s fan­tas­tic for New­cas­tle to have such a big event. I just hope I can put in a good per­for­mance in front of the Ge­ordie fans, but I know I’d be more com­fort­able tak­ing a penalty in front of them than fac­ing a five-foot putt! I re­spect the Tour pros who travel every­where, but don’t earn a lot, hav­ing a 10-footer to make sure they can put food on the ta­ble.

It’s a heck of a lot of trav­el­ling and you’re away from the fam­ily for so long. But the top play­ers travel the world in their pri­vate jets, play­ing the best cour­ses… that’s got to be bril­liant. That’s what I’m do­ing in my next life! My driv­ing is one of my strengths though putting is a weak­ness

– I just don’t get the time to prac­tise. Once I get a day off I want to go out and en­joy the course rather than spend two or three hours prac­tis­ing. I’m not an an­gry golfer.

Ian Wright’s an an­gry golfer! If have a good day, I have a good day and if I have a bad one, that’s fine. The more com­pet­i­tive it is, the more I like it. I have to have a fiver at stake to add a bit of spice. I go to the Mas­ters every year.

I’ve been for the past five, so that’s the deal – I have that week­end off every foot­ball sea­son so I can head over to Au­gusta. I’m the luck­i­est guy in the world: I got paid to play foot­ball and now I watch and com­ment on foot­ball, which gives me days off when I can travel the world and play golf.

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