00.00.03 My name’s Van Phillips and I’m a professional golfer and I work at Duke’s Meadows Golf Range in Chiswick. The first time I discovered golf I actually was at work with my father on a Saturday morning and on the way home we drove past a nine hole pitch and putt and we both just thought we’d go and have go. That was it really, just we both really loved and it went from there. I’d always been very competitive so the main reason I wanted to play golf for a living was because I’d seen the professionals on television and it all looked quite glamorous and just I thought I’d really love to do that.
00.00.40 There was a traditional professional sport in my family as such. My father was international judo competitor so very, very competitive nature even though it was a completely different sport. I was fairly academic. I was in all the top sets as I progressed through school but once I’d decided that golf was going to be my future, obviously I didn’t pursue further education. So I very much put all my eggs in one basket.
00.01.08 And I was actually very lucky because my headmaster was a mad keen golfer. There was an arrangement struck with the school whereby I had certain afternoons to go and play golf and practice golf because that was where they knew my career was headed. My father ran a building firm in West London and my mother was a full-time housewife.
00.01.30 My father had always worked very hard his whole life running a business and so I think he very much was prepared to back me in anything that I put my mind too. I was just very, very lucky to have two really hardworking kind parents that really believed in me and gave me the impetus that I needed to really start my career. I wouldn’t say I missed out on the teenage culture by not going to college or university.
00.02.01 When I was 16/17 I was travelling to places like Iceland and playing for England and mixing with all the other teenagers that were coming from all the other different countries. So I was interacting with other people and certainly didn’t miss out on anything like that. There’s been lots of highlights. I won the Portuguese Open in 1999. Lots of other, third in the French Open in 1998. So there have been lots of nice moments in tournaments.
00.02.30 Obviously there’s a huge feeling of elation and achievement. And it can be hard to temper that with the following weeks that obviously everything after a win unless you win again, and again, and again. Everything’s a slight comedown from that. About a year ago, I had a torn cartilage in my right hip. Eventually it became apparent that I needed to do something about it so I had the operation last March but unfortunately it took nine months to rehabilitate. So at the end of that I decided that after 15 years of touring, I’d quite like to refocus and move more into the coaching side of things.
00.03.17 I’ve definitely no regrets about anything. I set out to achieve certain things and I would probably say I got 90% there. Obviously I wish I could have achieved 100% but I wouldn’t say it would be a regret. In the next five or ten years I’d like to take all the drive that I had as a player and put that into my coaching. It’s very much the same psychology, it’s just I’m applying it to a different area of my life so I’m still very competitive. I’d still like to be one of the best coaches now I’m not playing.
00.03.56 I’d definitely consider myself to be extremely lucky, extremely lucky that I chose something that I love to do and I was able to make a living from that. So yes, I’d say I was very lucky.