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Greg Turner quits full time professional golf

Greg Turner, a member of one of New Zealand's most prominent sporting families, is quitting fulltime golf to concentrate on his course design business.

The 39-year-old, whose brother Glenn was a highly successful test cricketer, is making his last appearance as a full-time European Tour member in Paris before returning to Queenstown, New Zealand, where he will be permanently based.

"As of the end of this week, my focus will not be on the European Tour as it has been for the past 16 years or so but on my business," he told Reuters in an interview.

"I will still play events in Australia for three or four months and the odd tournament back here but my main thrust now will be on course design.

"The success of that or otherwise will determine how much time I spend playing."

Turner, for many years his country's best player, comfortably made the cut on Friday in the Lancome Trophy after a second round 68 left him four under par overall.

"I always said that when I got to the stage where I felt I could no longer get any better then it would be time to move on.

"That time has come I reckon and the fun now is to try something I can improve doing." He has run his course design business in tandem with his playing career for six years.

Turner is a four-time winner on the European Tour with his last success coming five years ago in the British Masters at the Forest of Arden course in England.

He has earned around 2.5 million pounds ($3.90 million) in prize money in Europe since 1986.

The Dunedin-born pro has also won eight other tournaments worldwide including the 1999 Australian PGA Championship at the Victoria Club in Melbourne, where Turner is due to compete in next month's Australian Open.

Another highlight in his 18-year professional career was as a member of the International team which humbled the United States four years ago in the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

"I have no regrets. Put it this way, if I was offered everything I've achieved in my career when I started out as a 21-year-old I'd have taken it," said Turner who has put his home in Sunningdale, England, up for sale.

"I've had no hardships and been relatively injury-free. You really can't ask too much more than that."

Although he is considerably younger than Glenn and his other brother Brian, who was a New Zealand hockey international, their influence helped guide him towards a career in sport.

"In many ways they had the impact more of a father to me in that I was always competing, trying to live up to their achievements," he said.

"There was always a bit of pressure for me because people would naturally compare me to my older brothers. I guess that could be the main reason why I opted in the end for golf although I was a pretty fair hockey player and cricketer."

Turner has been an articulate spokesman on issues affecting the game. He was at the forefront of protests over the US$2.25 million appearance money which Tiger Woods was reported in the local media as receiving to play in January's New Zealand Open.

Turner was angered that the cost of luring the world number one to Wellington was passed on to the spectators.

"Golf is a largely egalitarian game in New Zealand and the biggest participant sport there.

"Yet the poor old bloke passing through the gates had to pay NZ$500 to get in for the week when the year before and next year it is NZ$50. That is just not right -- and in the end the organisers lost their money."

Turner, though, has not fallen out of love with the game of golf.

"There's a lot of reasons why I'm stopping full-time now -- my daughter Charlotte is five and I want her to go to school in New Zealand and that's another factor -- but I'm relaxed about what I'm doing.

"The future is looking pretty interesting."


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