Hallowe’en fun: Pro golfers and their biggest fears

Sharks, lightning, flying and... frogs?

’Tis the season for spooks and ghouls, with Hallowe’en taking place this weekend.

But what makes some of the world’s best golfers hide behind their sofa with fear?

Let’s take a look…
Jordan Spieth is afraid of sharks


Jordan Spieth has confessed to having a fear of sharks – which, let’s be honest, isn’t that irrational.

I am. I’m very, very much afraid of sharks. I don’t like them. They’re not cool.

Thankfully, at home in Texas there aren’t many sharks on the course, unlike in Australia.

But there are sharks in the waters of the Bahamas, which this year gave Spieth the opportunity to overcome his fear. While fishing for tuna a 300lb shark got hooked on his line. 

It’s a big fish story, but Spieth reckons he spent two hours battling the shark, before the boy wonder finally proved victorious.

Spieth said: “There was no room for the fish and dames on the back of the boat so we couldn’t pull it on.”

Top bro points to Spieth for facing his fear and winning while a bunch of ’dames’ watched.



Peter Uihlein is afraid of frogs.


The American’s amphibious phobia came to light when he was trying to get up and down at the KLM Open last year. 

Addressing his ball for the shot, from the side of an adjacent tee box, Uihlein suddenly jumped away, flailing his arms in terror.

“I swear, it was bigger than what it showed,” said Uihlein. “I almost stepped on it and freaked out…then Rickie tweeted it out. Very selfish. So yeah, that’s pretty embarrassing. I’d gone a long time with getting away with not a lot of people knowing I didn’t like frogs, so I’m kind of bummed when that came out.”


Sir Colin Montgomerie is afraid of flying


Heavy turbulence on a flight to Ibiza is said to be the cause of Sir Monty’s fear, and although he will fly if he needs to (rather than, say, take a steamer across the Atlantic), Monty would much rather drive.

The phobia came to light during a court trial where Monty was caught driving his Bentley Continental and failed to pay a fine. 

His lawyer, celebrity driving solicitor Nick Freeman, disclosed Monty’s fear of flying and claimed he drove 55,000 miles each year to see his children.

The death of his friend and Ryder Cup opponent Payne Stewart in 1999 certainly didn’t help. 

Stewart died in a plane crash just a month after he helped team USA win the Ryder Cup and three months after his US Open. Monty reacted to his death, saying: “We are all going to be more anxious when making trips”

Florian Fritsch is also afraid of flying


Like Monty, the German shuns flight. Instead, he prefers to drive the thousands of miles to tournaments.

Frisch’s phobia is made even more incredible when you consider the German’s brother-in-law is a pilot.

“I live in Frankfurt,” he said. “Just about the middle of Europe, so it’s OK for driving to various venues. I have tried so many things to help my flying fear and I just have to keep going with them.”

So much driving sounds like hard work, but Fritsch sees the positives in his situation. 

He said: “You don’t waste time at airport gates and security and you don’t have to take a bus to the tournament when you get there…Me, I just throw stuff in the trunk and I’m off.”


Retief Goosen is afraid of lightning


We’re going to give it to Retief – the South African’s fear of lightning is well-founded, as he was struck while playing golf as a child, in what must have been a horrifying experience.

The US Open winner’s mother, Annetjie, recalled the incident: “He was playing golf with his cousin, who was 40m away from Retief when he was flattened.

“Retief was lying naked and unconscious on the fairway. His clothes were burnt off his body and he didn’t even have shoes on. Luckily, there were two doctors on the course who stabilised him before he was rushed to hospital.”

Mrs Goosen said the lightning strike even changed he son’s personality, from outgoing to shy.


Can you blame little Retief? Waking up, naked, on a golf course, with what must have been one heck of a headache, really is the stuff of nightmares.

Bubba Watson is afraid of most things.


Bubba’s been known to have panic attacks while on the course, such as the 2011 Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles, when he withdrew after the first round.

The two-time US Masters champion probably isn’t the one you want to go trick-or-treating with as he has a list of fears as long as one of his booming drives. He told the Golf Channel “I’m afraid of three things: I’m afraid of crowds, I’m afraid of the dark; I’m afraid of heights. 

“Those are the biggest three fears in life. 

“Elevators, enclosed areas freak me out, as do big crowds. That’s why I don’t like concerts, I don’t like certain places when I go into a restaurant. 

“I like being in control of the situation and when you’re in a big crowd you’re not in control. It’s like you’re in a mosh pit. I’m real weird about certain things. 

“I don’t like that dark – that’s just weird. 

“I’m scared of heights.”


 Anything you missed off Bubba?

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