'It’s Hard To Believe I’ve Made It This Far' –Sepp Straka Reveals How He Became A Ryder Cup Player Despite Being The Second Best Golfer In His Family

Sepp Straka has won two times on the PGA Tour and lifted the Ryder Cup, but he might not have made it as a pro without his twin brother Sam...

Sepp Straka with fans at the Ryder Cup
Sepp Straka with fans at the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sepp Straka made his debut in the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club, delivering a point for Team Europe alongside Shane Lowry in a foursomes match against Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa on Friday morning.

It capped quite a rise for the Austrian, who graduated from the Web.com Tour in 2021 and claimed his first PGA Tour title at the 2022 Honda Classic. His triumph at the John Deere Classic the following year and a second-place finish in The Open at Royal Liverpool put him firmly on Luke Donald's radar.

But had it not been for his twin brother, Sam – someone he admits had more golfing ability than him growing up – Straka might not have made it to college and progressed to the professional ranks, as he explains...

"If you look back on my career as a whole, it’s hard to believe I’ve made it this far. Especially as my twin brother, Sam, was the one who looked more likely to go down this route. My parents are both golf nuts, so I suppose it was natural that Sam and I would take up the game, even though we enjoyed playing football more when we were growing up," he says.

“Sam was a better player than me. He was the goal-scoring striker, and I was the goalie. That sort of reflected the difference in our level of ability. Then, when we were about 11, we went to a junior golf camp arranged by our parents, and on the bus ride home Sam told me we were going to quit the football team and concentrate on golf.

sepp and sam straka

Sepp with brother Sam at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“It was the same story with golf. He was a better player than me, right up until the time we were recruited to play college golf. Not that I liked it very much! We hate losing to each other, but when we were younger it happened a lot to me. We would have chipping or putting contests, or matches against each other, and he won most of the time.

“I’ve always been a steady player, but he hits it longer and has a knack for the spectacular, the ability to make birdies from unlikely places. Thankfully, we never played each other for money. It was just about pride and bragging rights - otherwise I would have lost most of my pocket money to him!

“It was all credit to Sam that we ended up with scholarships to the University of Georgia. He was the one who got all the recruiting attention. The UGA coach was interested in Sam and realised only later that he had a brother who could play pretty well, too.

“Then somewhere along the line I got a lot better - another case of the unexpected happening, I guess - although Sam still plays to a high level, and still dreams of joining me on the PGA Tour one day. I’d love it if that happened.”

David Facey
Contributing Writer

David brings a wealth of experience to Golf Monthly as a freelance contributor having spent more than two decades covering the game as The Sun's golf correspondent. Prior to that, he worked as a sports reporter for the Daily Mail. David has covered the last 12 Ryder Cups and every Masters tournament since 1999. A popular and highly-respected name in the press tents around the world, David has built close relationships with many of the game's leading players and officials. 

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