Chris Paisley is in the midst of a career year on the European Tour. A win in South Africa was followed up by consecutive top five finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and a WGC debut in Mexico. He currently sits in the top ten in the Race to Dubai and top 80 in the world and is on the bubble currently for Thomas Bjørn’s Ryder Cup team.
Whilst lots of fans might be aware of Paisley’s recent form, few know about his past and where his career has come from. Below we dive into eight facts you may not have known about the 31 year old.
1. He has five professional wins
Whilst his win at the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni was his first on the European Tour, Paisley actually has five professional victories on his CV. In the space of five months in 2011, the Englishman won three times on the Alps Tour, thanks to finishing rounds of 63, 64 and 64. Fast forward a year and Paisley won at home at the English Challenge on the Challenge Tour with a 16 under par winning score at The Stoke By Nayland Hotel.
2. He comes from a golfing family
Like many players on the European Tour, Chris Paisley grew up with golf in his blood. His two older brothers and his dad are all good, single-figure handicap golfers and his middle sibling, Andy, is a club pro at Hexham Golf Club and is also Chris’ putting coach on Tour.
3. He attended the University of Tennessee
From 2006 to 2009, Paisley attended college in the US at the University of Tennessee, the educational home of the NFL’s Peyton Manning and former Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin. Paisley was the only true freshman to start on the team in his rookie year and went on to win twice and notch 13 top tens in 42 starts as a Volunteer (the university’s mascot). In his final year at Tennessee, Paisley was team captain, made the All-SEC team and was an honourable mention in the Ping All-America team.
4. He had a strong amateur career
Growing up in the north of England, Paisley enjoyed an impressive amateur career before turning professional in 2010. Among the list of his amateur victories were wins at the 2007 North Region PGA Champion, 2007 Northumberland County Champion, 2008 Ridges Intercollegiate Champion, 2008 Czech Amateur Champion, 2009 Northumberland County Champion and the 2009 PING Intercollegiate Champion. He also made it to the semi-final of the 2010 British Amateur Championship at Muirfield.
5. He was part of the 2009 winning Palmer Cup team
The Palmer Cup is an annual Ryder Cup style match between the best American golfers and best European golfers at universities in America. In 2009 Chris Paisley, in his senior year at Tennessee, made the team alongside fellow European Tour players Jorge Campillo, Andrea Pavan and Henrik Norlander. Despite struggling in his matches, the team went on to win at Cherry Hills Country Club by a score of 13 to 11.
6. Every birdie he makes on Tour helps save Rhinos
Anyone that follows Chris Paisley on social media (@ChrisPaisley86 on Twitter) may have seen Chris reference “Birdies 4 Rhinos”. The initiative, supported by players like Justin Rose, Dean Burmester, Richard Bland, Justin Walters and Stacy Bregman, sees players donate money for every birdie the make to the protection of Rhinos. Paisley has been part of the team for a few years now and donates £7 for every birdie he makes to the cause. That’s a lot of money when you shoot as low as Paisley has this season!
7. He changed his practice routine and won
After struggling in 2017 and finishing 112th in the Race to Dubai, Paisley decided to change up his practice round and better prepare for 2018. In his own words, the 31 year old describes why and how he change: “I changed the way I practiced this winter. I basically felt as though I wasn’t taking my practice game to the course. So my coaches and I decided that I needed to somehow add pressure and nerves into my practice sessions. We came up with the idea of doing pretty demanding skills tests, and if I didn’t complete them, I had to do a forfeit, such as push-ups or sprints. I'm quite a shy person so the thought of doing push-ups on the practice area in front of people was so embarrassing that it really did create pressure for me. I found that it really bridged the gap between my practice and tournament golf. I usually feel very rusty my first week after a break, but I came to the BMW SA Open feeling so sharp.“
8. He has a few tricks up his sleeve
When he’s not playing or doing practice-forfeits, you sometimes find Chris Paisley on the practice area working on trick shots. Often he will practice swinging one-handed on the range as a drill and even catch his own flop shots.