Image copyright AP Image caption Craig Sauers’ story was told in his new book, ‘Playing with Derrick’
Alongside his remarkable golf career, retired pro Craig Sauers has also had a long career as a broadcaster and has just published a book about his 40-year playing career.
His life story, appropriately titled ‘Playing with Derrick’, tells the story of his father’s struggles with the effects of learning difficulties, and how he grew up in Wales with a passion for golf as well as football.
“I was 12 years old when my dad learned how to read, and the more he struggled, the more I wanted to learn how to read too,” he said.
He learned to read in half an hour and he was saying he could read faster than the five-year-old Sauers, which was a great surprise.
“The way I found it, he had no vision and he had no hearing, so reading was hard for him. I was very lucky because I was able to get a couple of books put on microfilm and write out things which were in the stories and make them out and go out and play.
“It was probably the greatest gift my dad could ever give me. He always had his eye on the ball but never knew he had the disability.”
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Craig Sauers played professional golf for 35 years
Sport image caption: Sauers at the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, Michigan
Sauers passed his A-Levels to go on and win a spot at the University of Wales to play professional golf.
“Growing up in Cardiff it was pretty cool,” he said. “I had Champions League matches on television, on Sunday it would be Man Utd playing Arsenal and in the week it would be Celtic playing Rangers.
“There were obviously a few Celtic fans in the house who were really loud and were a big influence on me. We would watch the Old Firm matches as a team for the rest of the day, and we would have a little set-up around the room of a laptop so we could still see the game.”
Image caption Sauers also played for Wales in the European Championships at Monaco
He started playing golf because it was his passion.
“Playing football was never really in the blood for me, it was always athletics and that was it,” he said.
“Golf was always something that I was really interested in and it was something I always wanted to do. I had a chance to play amateur golf and I always had an eye on the professional game.”
In a football-mad town like Cardiff, Sauers grew up with the man who he idolised and who played golf alongside his father.
“When I was seven years old I went to Snaresbrook United in the Football League. Gary Lineker was one of my neighbours and he coached me,” he said.
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After moving to join the PGA Tour, Sauers became a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, one-time winner on the European Tour and European Masters, and a European Ryder Cup player.
In the latter stages of his career, Sauers struggled to hold a job after retiring from professional golf.
The 52-year-old even ended up working at a charity shop.
“I worked at the Stockport centre for a few years and I worked on the special needs team,” he said.
“I had to take leave after the third job and I had to leave the shop and come off sick and a year-and-a-half later I ended up getting a job at a club and after that I managed to get back out again at a club, and in the end, I never needed to go back to a shop, I just didn’t need to work.
“But that’s what’s kind of encouraging – that I’ve always had this opportunity to make a bit of extra money to help pay for my son’s special needs transport.
“To be a well-known name in the sport has helped that as well, I’ve had more job interviews that I could ever have wished for.”
Image caption Serechers throughout his playing career
Sauers got married to his current wife Grace in 2017.
“My goal in life, apart from marrying Grace, has been to see golf grow,” he said.
“I still care a lot about golf, no matter what the league I’m playing in or which club I’m playing for, the top event’s to me.
“I never got caught up with what happened on that particular day, my goal is to play golf, enjoy it and play with the game as much as I can. I like the competition side of it more than anything else.”