TULLIALLAN golfer Callum Macaulay has put his professional career into the long grass after announcing his decision to quit.

The 33-year-old, who lives in Kincardine, finished second at the Madeira Island Open only eight years ago in what was then just his fifth event on the European Tour, but said competing in the paid ranks had become a “burden financially”.

Macaulay, whose wife Clare-Marie is a PGA professional at Paisley Golf Club, burst onto the scene in 2008 by winning the Scottish Amateur title at Carnoustie before holing the winning putt for Great Britain and Ireland against Europe in the St Andrews Trophy, held biennially for amateur golfers.

He then produced an outstanding performance to help Scotland to an historic first victory in the Eisenhower Trophy – the World Amateur Team Championships – before coming through all three stages of the European Tour Qualifying School to earn his tour card for 2009.

Macaulay finished just a shot behind Argentinian Tano Goya in Madeira – equalling the course record with a 64 in the final round by scoring birdies at eight of the last nine holes in the process – but struggled to build on that early promise.

Three years ago, he started driving a taxi to ease the pressure financially and has now decided that his time as a pro is over.

Announcing the news on Twitter, Macaulay said: “I have been considering my golf career for a number of months now, and after a lot of thought I have decided that now is the time to call it a day on my professional career. I have enjoyed a good chunk of my professional lifetime but, for the last couple of years, it has became a burden financially and also on my family.

“I have other people in my life now who are more important to me than golf. I would like to thank the people who have supported me until the very end (you know who you are) but most of all my family, my mum and dad, and Clare-Marie.”

While playing on the tour, Macaulay wrote a blog on his own website detailing his progress, but his last post – made four years ago – gave an insight into the tough nature of competing as a professional.

After missing four cuts after spending a month in South Africa, which he described as “possibly one of the most difficult trips in my golfing career”, he said at the time: “I am carrying around a little baggage in my head at the moment, which hopefully in the next few weeks will all be resolved. As you can imagine, golf is a tough enough sport as it is, but with the added stress of feeling like you are playing for your mortgage, it’s even tougher.”

Despite putting his pro bag away for the last time Macaulay added: “I plan to apply for my amateur status back in the time being. I still love the game, and always will. I may even begin to enjoy playing it again in due course.

“However, I have been presented with a great opportunity to pursue a new career away from professional golf and I’m relishing the new challenge.”