Long-term wrist injury forces Gareth Maybin to retire

Gareth Maybin was flying home from Johannesburg when the prospect of retirement finally became a reality.
The 36-year-old from Ballyclare had grabbed the offer of an invite to play in the Joburg Open [Feb23-26] but hampered by a long-standing wrist injury, he was forced to withdraw without even striking a ball.
“That probably put the nail in the coffin,” said Gareth, who confirmed his decision to retire via social media on Thursday.
“It’s not the end of the world, stuff happens.
“A combination of the wrist not being well and not playing well for a couple of years made it an easy decision in the end.”
A talented amateur, who won the North of Ireland Amateur Championship in 2002, Gareth turned professional in 2005 after completing a degree in sports management at the University of South Alabama.
He made smooth progress through the pro ranks and in 2008 cruised to a Challenge Tour victory at the Qingdao Golf Open in China to secure his place on the European Tour.
Those early years on the European Tour were successful without being spectacular. He lost out to Richard Sterne in a play-off at the South African Open in 2009 and in 2010 he finished second twice at the Ballantine’s Championship and the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
The 2010 season was his best on tour, he finished 40th in the rankings and made the cut at the US Open, finishing tied for 63. That was the high point, he battled to retain his card over the next few years and eventually, in 2014 he missed out.
However, he returned to tournament golf in 2015 with renewed appetite planning to mix some European Tour starts with a run of Challenge Tour events but in June, he hurt his wrist playing at the Lyoness Open in Austria and was forced to withdraw.
He knew something wasn’t right but managed to tee it up the following week at the Najeti Open in France but, as it turned out, that was his last appearance for 18 months.
“I tore a tendon, so I went in and had surgery,” said Gareth.
“It was fixed, but it never settled, one of the stitches failed to dissolve so I had to go in again and have that taken out.
“Unfortunately, then it became very inflamed and I had to go back in and get it cleaned out.

“The only way it was going to get better was to have another surgery, break a bone, shorten it and then put a plate and pin in it.

“I’m not willing to have more surgery on the off-chance that it might work.”
Initially it looked like the long hours of rehab had paid off when he played in the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour in mid-February but that was followed by the Joburg withdrawal and then last week, he pulled out after one round of the Turkish Airlines Open.

“At the last couple of tournaments, as much as I tell myself to go through the pain, the hand won’t let me. I flinch at impact and I can’t control what the face is doing,” added Gareth, who has two young children.
“There is disappointment that I finished my career at the top level without a Euro Tour win.
“I played in three majors [US Open 2010 and Open Championship 2010 and 2013] and I finished second three times and that shows that I had the game to compete.
“In many ways being able to compete at that top level was a dream come true.”
Now that he’s hung up the clubs, he is looking around for a new challenge and hopes to stay involved in sport although he’s not so sure about remaining in golf.
“The obvious route would be to do a bit of coaching,” he added.
“I do enjoy watching kids playing and improving but I need to see what comes up now.
“After playing golf for as long as I have it becomes a job, just like anything else.
“I’d love to maybe try a bit of broadcasting at something like the Irish Open.
“Whatever it is, I want it to be fun, something that gets me out of bed in the morning.”


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