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Odemwingie changes career, turns professional golfer

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Former Super Eagles forward, Peter Odemwingie, who is now a professional golfer, says he is looking forward to excelling in a second sport as a player and coach while also using his status to grow the sport in Nigeria.

The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) on Tuesday announced that the ex-international, who featured for Nigeria Premier League side Bendel Insurance before spells in Europe, graduated from the PGA school last month.

“Peter Odemwingie is best known for playing top-level football, scoring over 30 Premier League goals for West Bromwich Albion and representing Cardiff City and Stoke City”, the PGA announced on X.

“He has played in two World Cups and even won an Olympic medal in 2008. In his post-football career, he turned to golf and is now a fully-fledged PGA professional”.

In an extensive interview with the PGA website, the 42-year-old revealed that he started playing the game towards the end of his time at West Brom before he joined Aston Wood Golf Club in Staffordshire and achieved a handicap that brought him within the threshold to undertake the Playing Ability Test.

“I’m 42 now and it feels like I was a teenager one more time. It’s a blessing really as I got to put my history and my football career to one side and I told myself, ‘You’re a young man just beginning a new journey in a sport that you fell in love with’. I saw myself as a young kid and felt young going to two classes on a residential week in England with mostly younger people.

“My eyes are on the senior tour in the future because I definitely know there is a player in me. This game offers us longevity and if you stay healthy you can play for a long time, as someone like Gary Player shows”.

Odemwingie now hopes to use his status to grow the sport, particularly in Nigeria and Russia, which have produced many well-known footballers but where golf still has huge growth potential.

“These are very sporting nations, but they don’t have golfers representing them on the world stage, which is a shame”, he says.

“I’ve had to put my studies first these past few years, but now I have graduated I am in a position to do something and I hope to get backing to organise some tournaments in Nigeria for decent prize money.

“The former USSR is a huge territory and places like Kazakhstan have hosted Challenge Tour events, so I’d like to go there and speak with people about opportunities to grow the game in that part of the world too. Hopefully now with my status as a PGA Professional, it will open doors and people will take it seriously, and from there, you go step by step towards your goals”.

Since he retired from football in 2018, Odemwingie has not been seen in any coaching role but he has already mapped out a plan for his coaching career in golf.

“I have all the books ready to make the next step in the coaching, which is the plan now to read as many books as I can. I want to keep on following that path of continuous professional development and I’m interested in the courses the PGA offers.

“I’m taking a break for one year where I’ll read and learn as much as I can and then I’ll go back and do the honours degree at the University of Birmingham from next September”.

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