Born in Turkey, moved to Germany with his family in 1981. Played soccer from ages ten to 18. Was a striker and it was only when a friend took him to the golf course that he became interested. He began playing as a 13 year old in 1984 but never had an amateur career, turning professional in 1989. Took German citizenship in 1993 and two years later began playing full time. In the 1995 German Open in Stuttgart, his first European Tour event, led after 12 holes and went on to make the cut. Has been to the Tour School seven times in total, succeeding on his latest visit in 2001, although he obtained a card the previous year through the Challenge Tour. He is still a soccer fan with a strong following for Galatasaray, from his Turkish background, and Bayern Munich. Obtained a medical exemption for the first four events of the 2003 season.