Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, a former DP World Tour champion and 2014 European Ryder Cup star, not only withdrew from competing in this week’s LIV Golf Promotions on Monday but announced he was retiring from golf at age 33.
“I feel like I’ve reached my limits and I know I can find pleasure elsewhere, I’m convinced of that,” he said during an interview with France’s L’Equipe.
Dubuisson won the 2009 European Amateur and was the No. 1-ranked amateur for eight weeks in late 2009. He turned pro in 2010, and would leave an indelible mark on the game, setting the course record at St. Andrews (62) while competing on the DP World Tour. He won the Turkish Airlines Open in 2013 and 2015, and made a name for himself in 2014 when he lost the finals of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship in 23 holes to Jason Day despite two all-world up-and-downs from the desert that earned him the nickname “Cactus Kid.” Later that year, he earned a spot on the European Ryder Cup team and successfully paired with Graeme McDowell in two foursomes victories and halved his singles match with Zach Johnson as Team Europe rolled to victory at Gleneagles in Scotland. This proved to be the peak of his artistry.
But Dubuisson never felt comfortable playing on the PGA Tour and spent most of his career on the European circuit. In his book “Slaying the Tiger,” author Shane Ryan described Dubuisson as “distant, detached and nearly sullen,” and “a sphinx,” for whom “arranging the puzzle pieces of his life would prove to be a huge challenge.”
Dubuisson, who told reporters he dropped out of school at a young age, was considered a natural talent by his peers but he was painfully shy and didn’t enjoy the spotlight and failed to reach his potential.
“Victor is a genius. I’ve seen people more talented, but he’s in the top 5,” fellow French golfer Jean Van de Velde told Golfweek in July. “He has his own way of doing the practice and play. You can have a lot of talent. His approach to the way he practices and trains needs to be reconsidered, but that’s just my opinion. The talent is still there. He hits it so far and has every shot in the bag but he’s his own worst enemy. He could’ve been a major winner and not just one time. Because his game is so complete.”
Dubuisson climbed to a career-best of 15th in the world rankings in 2015, the highest ranking by a French golfer, but he missed most of the 2018 season after having an operation on his sinuses in late 2017, and reportedly perforated an eardrum while flying back from the Spanish Open in 2019. He competed in just 12 majors and recorded two top-10 finishes. Dubuisson only played eight events on the DP World Tour last season, withdrawing three times and posting a highest finish of 69th, and lost his card following his 287th place finish in the Race to Dubai. His name attracted some attention when he signed up for the LIV Golf Promotions this week in Abu Dhabi, where three spots for next season are up for grabs. Dubuisson pulled out on Monday and then surprised the golf world when he announced his retirement at such a young age.
“It’s life, for me it’s not an end,” he told L’Equipe. “I started from nothing, so I’m extremely satisfied with what I’ve done. I still see myself as a little kid with my little bag and my Decathlon clubs. I was not predestined to have this career at all.”
He added: “Many people will say that I could have done more and that I could have been world No. 1. But I’m more than happy with it (his career). I don’t live in regret all the time. When I look behind me, where I started and where I am, I can tell you that I am very happy.”