Is Smylie Kaufman, a Retired Pro Turned Beloved Announcer, the PGA's Tony Romo?

"Maybe the only regret would be that I did have injuries and I really did have some serious tendonitis going on."

Brandon Charles - Author

Mar. 11 2024, Published 4:35 p.m. ET

Smylie Kaufman in 2024.
Source: Getty

It is damn near impossible to become a world class athlete. Thousands of people, sometimes hundreds of thousands, are trying to get your job. Millions more think they can do it without leaving their couch.

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Why would anyone that’s one of the best in the world stop? Why did a golfer ranked in the top 50 around the world stop at a very young age? Is it because they have the perfect name for a broadcast booth? Let's look into why Smylie Kaufman decided to retire.

Smylie Kaufman golfing in 2016.
Source: Getty
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Why did Smylie Kaufman retire?

Why do most athletes retire? Smylie stepped away from the PGA Tour after the 2021 season before he even turned 30 years old. On the Breakthrough podcast, Smylie talked about what specifically started hurting. “I get out there and it’s the first time on the range that I’ve ever had any wrist discomfort. I get on the range and I start feeling something in my wrist.”

If you didn’t already know, wrists are quite important in golf. You need a healthy wrist to be able to swing. It’s sort of foundational. You can't properly swing a club if your wrist isn't working.

Later in the podcast, Smylie explained how the injuries led to walking away from the course.

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Source: YouTube

“Maybe the only regret would be that I did have injuries and I really did have some serious tendonitis going on," Smylie said. "It didn’t require surgery but it was a chronic tendonitis in my wrist and then my left elbow. So there was probably moments where I could have taken six to nine months off to really get healthy, and it would have helped me, in that time period, to settle down, press the brakes, almost have a golf retreat with my team to get everybody back on the same page."

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Smylie didn’t retire from golf exactly, he retired from being a professional golfer competing at the highest levels. Rather than spend the day swinging on the links, he’s now spending even more time talking about the athletes taking those swings.

Smylie Kaufman has lots of reasons to be smiling right now.

Is Smylie the PGA version of the NFL’s Tony Romo? Similar to Tony, Smylie stepped away from the game at an age at which he could have kept playing. But rather than spend year after year not quite being good enough to be the best in the world, both men got in the broadcast booth the year after their retirement from playing in the game.

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Source: Twitter/X @SmylieKaufman10

Another reason Smylie and Tony have been receiving the same accolades is their foresight in each respective sport. Both athletes have become fan favorites. Recently on the Golf Channel’s Fridays with Smylie PGA Tour tournament coverage Smylie had fellow golfer Jordan Spieth on the show. Jordan live called fellow golfer's Scottie Scheffler's chip-in eagle. It was the kind of laid back golf coverage you would not see 20-30 years ago.

You can catch Smylie calling and commenting on golf on NBC Sports and the Golf Channel and listen to his podcast, The Smylie Show, wherever you find podcasts.

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