Some golfers come on the tour and stay for their entire life.
Others will make an impact and then leave for a while.
However, when a golfer plays on the Ryder Cup team and makes a putt to secure a championship, it’s hard not to remember them.
For a while, Justin Leonard’s name was on the leaderboard week in and week out.
He was a fun player to watch and had a classic and reliable golf game.
People liked watching Justin Leonard, and they enjoyed seeing him win championships.
However, Justin Leonard doesn’t spend nearly as much time in the world of golf anymore.
This leaves many players and fans wondering what happened to Justin Leonard.
What Happened to Justin Leonard?
Justin Leonard has not played in a golf tournament for several years.
His last appearance on the PGA Tour was back in 2017.
This was not one of his best performances, and he finished tied for 58th in that event.
Leonard didn’t really expect too much more than that as he has not been investing the time in his game for quite a while.
Justin Leonard started to get a bit burnt out on the world of golf and his performance, and it caused some major changes in his life.
These changes have led us to see a different side of Justin and get a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes on the PGA Tour.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that caused Justin Leonard to spend less and less time out on the PGA Tour.
Reasons Justin Leonard Does Not Play on PGA Tour
Here are some of the top reasons that have caused Justin Leonard to step away from the game of golf.
If you look at the leaderboards for most of the PGA Tour events, you will see that the guys are mostly younger.
The younger players are able to play with quite a bit more power, and they also don’t have as much to deal with off of the golf course as far as responsibility is concerned.
Players who get older have families, houses, responsibilities, all things that take their minds away from the game.
Golfers who are younger can go out and compete from week to week with only the concern of shooting a low score on their minds.
Many golfers will play on the PGA Tour through their 40s and then switch to the Champions Tour in their 50s.
As Leonard got into his 40s, he had a much harder time competing on the course with the young guys.
He had several seasons working really hard, but he was not making the money he had expected.
This, of course, became quite frustrating and was part of his decision to take a step back from the game.
2. Playing Style
Leonard has always had a very solid game.
He was good off the tee, could hit his irons close, and then get up and down with ease.
One of the things that Justin Leonard was never known for was his ability to hit the ball far.
Leonard could hit the ball plenty far enough to get distance, but he could not compete with the guys on tour who are driving the ball close to 400 yards at times.
In fact, Justin Leonard really wouldn’t even want to compete with that.
His playing style is different, and he was really not in a race to be the longest golfer on the PGA Tour.
Of course, he has plenty of distance to make it on the Champions Tour, but he still has two years before he needs to worry about that.
Some think he is gearing up for this, and others think we likely won’t see Justin Leonard compete again.
As we mentioned, for the younger players on the PGA Tour, things can be easy every week.
They need to find a place for their caddy and themselves to stay, and that’s about it.
They are not missing t-ball games or birthdays.
They are not having a problem with one of their houses that is causing their mind to be somewhere else.
Justin Leonard has four children.
They are now all young teens and pre-teens.
When they were babies, he would take them on the road with him, and they would travel as a family.
This was a great benefit, and it helped Leonard to feel as though he was still active with his family even though he was keeping up with his golf career.
As Justin’s kids started to get older, it became impossible for them to travel quite as much.
They had school, sports, their own friends, and many more reasons to stay home than to be on the road.
This, of course, made it difficult for Justin, who was away from his family often.
This is a very difficult and harsh reality of being a professional golfer.
There is extensive travel required in this career, and there is really no way around it.
It’s not entirely clear what started the somewhat downward spiral in Justin’s game.
He thinks that being away from the family made it harder for him to compete, and he started to play a little worse each week.
This then led to it being even harder to be away from the family.
Playing poorly and missing out on life events with your children is a very bad combination, one that eventually pushed Leonard away from traveling and playing.
4. Move to Aspen
Justin Leonard grew up in Texas.
He was known as being one of those famous Texas golfers like Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
There is a whole crew of Texas golfers who are serious about where they came from and what Texas can mean for a golf game.
The climate in Texas is a good one for working on the golf game all year long.
Golf is popular, and people play it both competitively and for fun.
Texas is known for some of the best golf courses in the nation, and Justin Leonard was heavily involved in the golf scene in Texas.
However, after a while, he started to get tired of it.
He has always had a desire to be outdoors, hiking, mountain biking, and more.
He spent a few years realizing that Texas was not going to fit the needs of his family in the long term.
The family decided that the two places they could see themselves living were Palm Beach, Florida, or Aspen, Colorado.
Eventually, they decided on Aspen.
As beautiful as Aspen is, this is not where you want to live if you are training and competing on the PGA Tour.
There is not enough time in the season in Aspen to truly perfect a golf game to the level it needs to be to compete.
This is something that Leonard was very well aware of, and frankly, he was fine with this decision.
He didn’t find the need to compete on the PGA Tour as important as finding the right place for him and his family to thrive.
This is a big realization in the career of a golfer, and certainly, the 34 million dollars that he had won while on Tour allows Justin to make some decisions like this.
Today, in his Aspen home, he does not worry about spending his day on the range.
Instead, he will go mountain biking or train with his wife to run marathons and triathlons.
Leonard, his wife, and all four of their children are very good athletes, and they compete and train together.
They are all in tremendous shape and living in the Aspen community where the outdoors is an extension of the home certainly makes this athletic type of lifestyle possible.
Overall, the move to Aspen sort of sealed the deal.
For Justin Leonard, his life was no longer going to be simply about golf, but instead, it would be about his family and their time together.
5. Interest in Other Things
There are some professional golfers who are completely obsessed with the sport.
They can’t get their minds off the game at any point of any day.
Certainly, it could be argued that this is how they got to this peak performance level in the sport.
Although Justin has had points like this in his career, he is also very open to other things.
He has many interests outside the world of golf.
However, when playing on the PGA Tour, he was sort of stuck in what golf could offer.
He has admitted to the fact that leaving the professional golf world has made life more entertaining, and he is ultimately happier.
6. Golf Announcing
Justin Leonard has always had an interest in golf course design.
Many great players will finish up their careers on tour and then transfer over to golf course design.
The transition is fun for these players, and there is money to be made.
The problem with courses is that the market for golf course design is relatively small.
Although golf is growing, it is not quite to the point that golf course designers are in high demand.
Leonard looked at some other ways to stay involved in the game, and one of those ways was through broadcasting and golf announcing.
Golf announcing is something that many great players will eventually transition to after their time on the Tour.
The great thing about golf announcing is that it is a little less demanding from a travel standpoint than being on the PGA Tour.
Leonard got a two-year contract with the Golf Channel, where he was able to enjoy some time as a golf announcer.
This worked out quite well for him and allowed him to stay involved with the game but also do the things that mattered most in his life.
You have seen some of this with other professionals like David Duval and Brandel Chamblee.
Not all golfers are cut out for golf announcing, but it is something that certain players have a good knack for, and Justin Leonard is one of them.
How Old Is Justin Leonard?
Justin Leonard is 48 years old.
This makes him a bit old for the PGA Tour.
Most of the players who are winning are age 30 or less.
You will see some golfers thrive until they get into their 40s, but very few have success on the PGA Tour from 40 to 50.
Then, at 50 years old, the players can join the Champions Tour and start to find success again in their early 50s.
For many years, golf was not a sport where age mattered.
Most players never really considered age because there was such an importance on the skill, talent, and feel.
However, the game of golf has changed quite a bit.
There is a much greater emphasis on power.
Golfers who can hit the ball far can get the ball closer to the hole more easily, and they can get around the golf course in fewer strokes.
Where Bryson will have a wedge shot into a green, Leonard could have an 8 iron.
This difference may seem small, but over the course of a round, the yardage will add up and make it harder to compete.
It will be interesting to see if Leonard makes a debut on the Champions Tour at some point.
Has Justin Leonard Retired from Golf?
As Justin Leonard has moved away from his golf career, many people assume he has retired.
If you ask Leonard this, he will likely tell you he is not retired.
He has more or less transitioned into a different type of life for now.
This is not to say that he won’t come back and make an appearance on the Champions Tour.
Of course, there is also still the chance that we will never see him compete professionally again.
For the success that he had both in life and on the golf course, it’s hard to blame Leonard for taking a backseat for a while.
Justin Leonard will likely remain a bit involved in golf for the rest of his life.
Many people say that his move to Aspen is a mid-life crisis.
Of course, Leonard doesn’t agree.
He says it is more of a way to follow the path that he is supposed to be on.
It’s hard to argue that he’s not in the exact spot he should be in at the moment.
How Much Is Justin Leonard Worth?
Net worth is an exciting thing because it is almost constantly changing.
At the current time, Justin Leonard is said to be worth around 25 million dollars.
During his time on the PGA Tour, he made 34 million dollars.
Of course, with the way Justin is about life and how meticulous he is in his golf game, you can imagine he is very much the same way with money.
His wife has a great job, he continues to find ways to bring money in, and the large amounts they had when Justin was winning on Tour have all been invested.
Aspen, where Justin currently resides, is made up of some very successful and wealthy people.
He is living in a place where he is getting to enjoy the money that he has made in his lifetime.