Ross Greenwood speaks to golfer Adam Stephens, who is ranked number 1939 in the world, after he took the Australian Open by storm today when he shot three-under-par 69. But his life isn’t as glamorous as it seems
Introduction: Athlete by day, Uber driver by night: Is being a Professional golfer as enticing as it seems?
Ross Greenwood: I’m talking about the unemployment rate sitting there at 5%. I’m going to tell you one person, while he never really quite joined the unemployed, but Jay, I’ll you what, it was close. Today he’s in a far different place. Hopefully, he’ll remain there over the course of this weekend. That’s a fellow called Adam Stevens who right now is sitting joint third in the Australian Open Golf tournament. He shot three-under-par 69 at The Lakes today, which is a great round of golf considering some of the superstars of the sport really did struggle out on the course today. The interesting thing, however, is that Adam Stevens had to take leave from his day job to go and play at the Australian Open. To make ends meet, this is what sometimes happens as a professional golfer, he’s been driving Uber Cars in the last little while. He’s on the line. Adam, how are you mate?
Interview with: Adam Stephens, Golfer
Adam Stevens: Not too bad.
Ross Greenwood: Congratulations on the round, mate. It was a fantastic round.
Adam Stevens: Yes, thanks very much. It was nice to get off to a good beginning for the Open this year.
Ross Greenwood: Righto. Just explain how tough it is being a professional golfer. The fact of the matter is that you’ve had a bit of a go on the Asian tour over the past few years. What was the end result of all that for you financially?
Adam Stevens: Mate, I went to Japan last year, did the final qualifying there, and unfortunately didn’t quite get through that year. That almost bankrupted me the end of last year. Early in my career, I played over in Canada and a little bit of OneAsia and that. I was making a little bit of money here and there with that but the reality actually is that you have to have another job over here in Australia.
Ross Greenwood: How does it end up that you’re a professional golfer and an Uber driver? Is that just simply something to earn a few bob to keep the food on the table as it were, while you’re trying to still ply your trade as a professional golfer?
Adam Stevens: Yes, pretty much, Ross. You just do a bit of practice during the week and you try and scratch out your from the Uber once a day or a couple times a day. You make $500, $800 a week. It helps me pay the mortgage and keep things rolling.
Ross Greenwood: This is not the glamorous sport that some imagine. I understand it if you miss the cut, there’s no money there for you. If you make the cut, if you’re well down the listings, there’s still not a lot of dough around the place. Trying to find a bed to sleep on when you’re going out to professional tournaments and trying to make certain that you’re not sleeping in the car as it were. This is the truth of professional sport in this level, isn’t it?
Adam Stevens: It is mate. I’m not at the Hilton or down at the Crown Plaza in Fortunately, I’ve got a nice little Airbnb. Yes, the reality is it’s very hard on these mini-tours or any small tour. The main tours are obviously the PJ Tour, Europe, Japan and you got the Web.com. If you look over a ten-year period, if you don’t make, let’s say like a normal job, you’re on 70 grand a year, you look that over ten years with tax and that, you’re making a couple hundred grand. We at golf, over 10 years, we can make maybe a hundred grand if you are lucky over the year.
Ross Greenwood: It makes it very tough. Just explain, because you’ve obviously got expenses, you’ve got to be able to travel, you’ve got to be able to get coaching, you’ve got to be able to do a range of things to make your ends meet, and then you’ve still got to turn up and put all those thoughts behind you and turn up and start shooting birdies.
Adam Stevens: Exactly, mate. Well, it only takes one really good week of golf to change your life but, like you said, if you don’t turn up on the week, then you’re lucky to make a normal wage for the week. There’s a lot of good golfers over there and golf’s only getting better with all the young kids coming up. It’s just the next generation of golfers getting better.
Ross Greenwood: Well, can I just say, you’re now my man that I’m going to be watching. No pressure here, I’ve got to tell you. I don’t want to ride you into the ground but can I just say, “Keep up the form, keep your head down, and really have a great weekend.” I hope it’s a great payday as well. I hope, for just a period of time at least anyway, you can give up the Uber driving. Adam Stevens, third in the Australian Open of golf but he’s had to basically step away from his job as an Uber driver to do it. Adam, I really wish you all the best over the weekend.
Adam Stevens: Thank you very much, Ross. Cheers mate.
Image source: 2GB