Connor Syme is one of those athletes who could have made it in another sport. It’s not usual to hear of these multi-talented professional athletes. Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to be a little envious.
For the 24-year-old Scot, he could have ended up kicking a ball around for a living. Instead, he opted for whacking a little white ball instead.
Without seeing his skills with a football, you’d have to say that he probably made the right decision. Syme may have lost his European Tour card at the end of 2018, but he bounced straight back to win the Turkish Airlines Challenge on the Challenge Tour.
He has regained his card and has started the season in fine form, finishing tied 11th in South Africa and tied ninth in Mauritius.
This season, he’s tipped for big things. When we catch up, he’s back in South Africa, but he’s happy to take time out to talk football, television and, of course, golf…
RSNG You grew up not far from St Andrews. Was golf always on the cards for you? CONNOR SYME, PRO GOLFER ‘I was more into football when I was younger. When I was about 14 or 15, I decided that I was going to have to pick one or the other, and I picked golf.’
‘I played for Queen of the South at the time and I’d been at Rangers when I was 13. I was decent but I never really had the absolute desire to go with football.’
You wake up, you can practice for as long as you want and you don’t have to rely on anyone else – that’s what drew me to golf
RSNG So you made the right decision? CS ‘Yes. I still like my football. Rangers is my main team, but I follow Manchester United as well. I'm absolutely loving what Steven Gerrard is doing at Rangers. That’s what’s been difficult for me. How can I dislike Liverpool so much when Gerrard loves them so much? He’s doing an amazing job.’
‘With golf, I like the fact it’s an individual sport. You wake up, you can practice for as long as you want and you don’t have to rely on anyone else. That’s probably what drew me to golf.’
RSNG Plus you get to see some nice parts of the world? You’re starting the year in South Africa, right? CS ‘I love coming down to South Africa. My favourite course is probably the one we played in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek last December. We’ve been quite spoilt.’
‘The first couple of weeks out I’ve been there and then Mauritius, so it’s been beautiful. Mauritius was pretty amazing, but you can’t beat Dubai, going to play there in front of all the massive buildings; it’s pretty cool.’
RSNG It might sound like a silly question given where you’ve started the year, but do you always get time to relax? CS ‘We’re all guilty of working too hard at tournaments and hitting too many balls. Most of the time when we’re travelling we could be anywhere in the world because you’re at the golf course and then straight back to the hotel.’
‘I used Mauritius, though. I was like, you know what, I’m going to go to the beach and chill and for an hour and switch off a little bit. We’re here to work, but it is nice to switch off. When you’re more inland, you don’t get the same opportunities like Mauritius.’
I love music and often listen to Drake or Post Malone before I play
RSNG You signed with Modest! Golf Management, which is owned by Niall Horan. What’s that like? CS ‘Niall is a great guy and it was clear from the first time I met him how passionate he was about golf. Niall has gained a lot of experience from both being in One Direction and working as a solo artist in growing up under the spotlight and is always on hand to offer advice when he can.’
‘I love music and often listen to Drake or Post Malone before I play. Being represented by a management company that works in both the entertainment world and the golf world has been really enjoyable and it feels great to be part of such a successful company.’
RSNG There’s a lot of down time between tournaments. How do you relax when you’re on the road? CS ‘I’m big into Netflix; that’s kind of like a ritual before going to bed, just switch it on and watch a series. I’ve gone through most of them. I’ve seen Breaking Bad, You. Now I’m watching Designated Survivor, a political thriller that I’m really into.’
RSNG What about the gym? Every young golfer uses the gym now, right? CS ‘I go three times a week but I’m certainly not a gym junkie. Trying to keep fit is something I’m always striving for and I’m trying to get better in the gym all the time. There’s always something you can get better at.’
‘You demand a lot of your body with the swing so I have to work on those muscles to kind of hold myself in those positions in my swing.’
RSNG You’re no stranger to a colourful pair of trousers. Do you take an interest in golf fashion? CS ‘I’ve been with adidas since I turned pro a couple of years ago. I was honoured to be associated with the brand and they’ve been excellent with me. You get a number of drops throughout the year and it gives you the chance to express yourself on the course in different ways.’
‘They have something for everybody. Some days it calls for the staple stuff and maybe on Saturday and Sunday you chuck yourself out there a little bit more.’
WHAT NEXT? Read our [exclusive with the former world number golfer, Jason Day, plotting his way back to the top] (/categories/movement-fuel/articles/meet-former-golf-world-number-one-jason-day).