Tennis star Mardy Fish trying his hand at golf: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...-tour/3546977/
Former top-10 player Mardy Fish, whose career has been in limbo due to a heart condition and its psychological after effects, is dabbling in professional golf.
Fish, 31, played two events in the last three weeks on the All-American Gateway Tour, a developmental circuit for up-and-coming professionals hoping one day to earn their PGA Tour card.
He failed to make the cut at both the ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., Oct. 29-Nov. 1, and the Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., Nov. 11-13.
Fish has missed most of the past two tennis seasons while recovering from an accelerated heart beat that first struck him at a Davis Cup match in February 2012.
It resurfaced at the Sony Ericsson Open in March that same year. Doctors induced extreme heart palpitations to try to pinpoint the problem. Fish also underwent a heart procedure known as cardiac catheter ablation to resolve a form of arrhythmia.
Following a number of fits and starts, Fish hasn't played since August, when he retired in the third set of his match against Jarkko Nieminen at a tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C. He pulled out of the U.S. Open the following week citing "personal reasons."
All told, he went 4-5 in five ATP-level events in 2013.
Reached by email, Fish did not deny he was taking a stab at pro golf, which included three-week trip to Florida this fall to train with a PGA pro. But said he did not want to discuss it until he had "a few days to think about things."
His agent, John Tobias, did not return repeated emails and phone calls.
Fish may be looking to follow in the footsteps of Scott Draper.
Draper, an Australian once ranked in the top 50, attempted to transition to pro golf after retiring from tennis. In 2007, he won the New South Wales PGA Championship on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Fish, a Minnesota native who lives in Los Angeles, has talked superficially about the "demons" that have dogged him despite assurances from doctors that he is fit to compete.
"It took me months and months to get back to normalcy – to have a glass of wine at dinner, to go out to a movie with my wife," Fish told reporters last March at a charity exhibition in Los Angeles shortly before returning to competition after a six-month absence. "Just those normal things that you take for granted I wasn't able to do for a long time."
It's unclear when, or if, Fish will pick up his tennis career.
Now ranked No. 369, he could return to the men's tour using a protected ranking of No. 25, which would allow him to enter up to nine high-level events, according to the ATP. The protected ranking expires on March 31, 2014.
At the few tournaments he played this year, Fish called his situation "day to day" and said that his problems were both mental and physical.
The 6-2 power player hasn't competed at Grand Slam tournament since pulling out of his fourth-round match at the 2012 U.S. Open against Roger Federer just hours before he was scheduled to play.
Doug Henderson, a spokesman for the Arizona-based All-American Gateway Tour, said the low-level tour caters to players aged 25-35 looking to break into professional golf.
Anyone can enter but it's recommended they have at least a plus-3 handicap "to be competitive," Henderson said.
Players who perform well can earn an exemption to the Web.com tour, a direct feeder to the PGA Tour.
"He didn't do terribly," Henderson said of Fish, who shot 78-75 in both events, missing the cut by 13 and 12 strokes. "But he didn't quite make the cut."
Fish owns six career titles and reached a ranking-high of No. 7 in August 2011. He has advanced to three major quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open and won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics.