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Muirhead: Why I chose curling over golf

Tom Pilcher
May 20, 2014
Eve Muirhead and her curling team gripped the nation during the Winter Olympics in February © PA Photos

The acute frustration felt by Winter Olympic curling bronze medallist Eve Muirhead in March - when she was not able to defend her 2013 world championship gold - will be taken out on golf balls this week.

Scot Muirhead, a scratch handicap golfer competing in Wednesday's pro-am at the European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship tournament at Wentworth, guided Team GB's women in February to their first podium finish since Rhona Martin and co won gold in 2002.

While that was a reward for years of hard work, it was tinged with disappointment for their skip Muirhead that the 2014 curling world championship qualifiers were held during the Olympics ahead of the title fight in March, hosted by Sochi gold medallists Canada.

"Not having anything to come back to, the world championships, did make it bittersweet. When you don't get that chance to go back and defend your title it's kind of gutting," Muirhead told ESPN.

"It was good to finish on a high at the Olympics and get that medal because I'd have been gutted if we came away with nothing.

Did you know?

  • As well as winning 16 medals in various curling events and being a scratch golfer, Eve Muirhead is also an accomplished bagpiper, competing at four World Championships.

"Hopefully they've learned their lesson now and they'll rethink their decision to have it at the same time as the Olympics and let the teams compete."

As with staring down a difficult scenario on the ice, life's challenges are met with shuddering confidence from someone so young.

Muirhead, who turned 24 last month and is the youngest skip to win a world title, chose curling over golf in her teens such was her maturity and focus even then.

"I knew I had the potential in curling to be at the top of the game. I knew a handful of golfers who made it to the top, to professional level, and that would have meant I'd have to move away and not curl at all," she said.

"I can be the best in the world, I know that if I put in the work I'm hopefully going to get the rewards at the end of it," she added, when asked what the one main attraction to curling was.

"That's why you strive to keep going, knowing that if you put in the work there's a higher chance of you getting that medal.

"The Olympic medal proved a point that we're the hardest working team, the hardest working team I'd like to think in Scotland."

Muirhead prefers to keep her involvement on the greens at a purely social level, though being the competitor she is there's a part of her that wonders what might have been had she chosen golf over curling.

"I know what players need to get to the top of golf and I know what I had, so who knows if I made the wrong decision. I'll never know," she said.

"Right now I'm just kind of happy playing golf, getting invited to some great events. I play at a social level and I think it will just stay at that."

Tom Pilcher is a freelance golf writer. You can follow him on Twitter here

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