Meet The Ex-England Cricketer Turned Scratch Golfer Defying The Odds

The former international cricketer says golf has changed his life after a rare heart condition forced him into early retirement

Meet The Ex-England Cricketer Turned Scratch Golfer Defying The Odds

The former international cricketer says golf has changed his life after a rare heart condition forced him into early retirement

Meet The Ex-England Cricketer Turned Scratch Golfer Defying The Odds

On April 12, 2016, English cricketer James Taylor received life-changing news. At the age of just 26, he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, bringing his career as an England international to a premature end. 

In what was a shock announcement, Taylor revealed he had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a potentially life-threatening illness which affects the right ventricle of the heart and can be exacerbated by vigorous exercise.

It’s a condition similar to the one that led to Fabrice Muamba’s retirement from football, after the former Bolton midfielder collapsed on the field during a 2012 FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur. 

However, not content to let that define him, Taylor turned to golf as a way of satisfying his competitive juices, and has now reached a milestone in the sport many amateurs aspire to but few achieve.

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“Four and a half years ago I set a goal to reach scratch,” the tweet begins. “After my diagnosis, golf was the only sport I could play and is the only sport I will ever be able to play competitively. 

“Golf has changed my life - become my exercise, my release and my physical challenge. Time to set a new goal.”

Taylor scored more than 9,000 runs in 139 first-class cricket appearances, averaging over 46 runs per innings and making 20 centuries, so it’s clear the 31-year-old has a natural sporting ability and hand-eye coordination.

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And as well as being a scratch golfer, Taylor remains heavily involved with cricket, becoming a full-time England selector in 2018 after a stint in broadcasting with the BBC’s Test Match team.

But what’s far more significant than hitting a handicap target or receiving 34 caps for your country is the impact golf has had on Taylor’s life. 

Retirement is often a hurdle that can pose sports men and women the greatest challenge, so for Taylor, who was forced out of cricket against his will and at such a young age, to retain such a positive and ambitious outlook is beyond admirable.

Whatever his next goal is, you wouldn’t bet against him reaching it in double-quick time.

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1