Walking With: Luca Brecel

Crucible A Special Place For Damian

By Jack Cousin

Damian Taylor makes the trip to the Crucible most years to watch the action at the Betfred World Championship. He has a special affinity for the famous Sheffield venue as his dad Dennis lifted the trophy in 1985.

Damian played snooker, football and golf all to a high level when he was younger before focusing on golf, eventually becoming a globally recognised coach.

Taylor went through the PGA and qualifications to become a player for five years. It was during that spell that he developed an interest in the coaching side. He said: “Even though I was still competing as a player I was intrigued by the mechanics of golf – the swing and how it worked. I ended up helping other people when I was supposed to be playing myself! Once I didn’t make it to the main tour, the coaching side of things was a path I was always going to go down.”

He started by teaching at a local driving range in Blackburn before getting an opportunity to go to Singapore to work under David Leadbetter at one of his golf academies. He said: “I was in Singapore for two and a half years and that was when I got a reputation for teaching better players. I used to teach a few of the Asian tour players and from there one of the Europeans, Jamie Donaldson, came over to see me and asked if I would come back into Europe to work with him full time so that was my transition back.”

Damian has worked with the likes of Nick Dougherty, Bernd Wiesberger, Pablo Larrazabal and Haydn Porteous. He said: “Whatever level you teach at, whether it’s tournament winners or someone who visits my academy who has never played the game before, you get an equal amount of satisfaction seeing them improve.”

Damian credits his dad with passing on sporting qualities such as competitiveness and determination. He commented: “My dad has always been inspirational to look up to. He was a great competitor in his own field and that instilled into me and my brother sporting qualities. He didn’t push me to become a snooker player, but he gave me the advice and help that I needed. He still to this day is a big influence. You can always learn from your father. He’s also a tough guy on the golf course, not that I play much anymore, but when I do he’s a tough man to beat.

“I always try to come up to Sheffield while the snooker is on, I always make a point of coming to see my dad here because it’s a place close to his heart. I watched Judd Trump’s win against Ricky Walden and he played well. It’s always great to come back here.”