GARY Byrne only took up golf because his other sports were too hazardous - but now he has to negotiate a tricky Observer Shield final against his friend Paul Swan on Sunday.
The Great Harwood golfer won the 2002 Shield after turning to golf when his career as a professional race jockey and then his hobby as a motocross rider led to too many injuries.
"I was spending too much time in hospital - I had a broken neck and broken elbow along with plenty of cuts a bruises," said the 43-year-old who also battled back after having two fingers cut off in a circular saw accident. "Fortunately I had them sewn back on," he said.
"Then my mate asked me if I wanted a game of golf. I joined Green Howarth and then Great Harwood and just took it from there."
The five handicapper was inspired to take part in the Observer competition when he watched Paul Mabbutt lift the coveted prize in 1994.
"I had taken up golf the year before that but when I watched Paul win the trophy and saw the crowd he had following him, I made it my aim to try to win it."
He achieved this two years ago against Barry Meagre at his home course of Great Harwood but faces Paul at Accrington GC (start 1pm) for the winners trophy this time.
Gary, who flies birds of prey and has a menagerie of ducks, dogs and a pony at his home in Padiham, saw off Accrington GC's Walter Ollett, a 1985 finalist, at Whalley in the semi-final.
"If I had got knocked out in the semi-final it would have killed me. That would have been the worst.
"Paul and I are good friends, I have played with him a lot and he has beat me a couple of times in the club championship."
Gary's caddy will be Rod Rothwell - who led him to the Observer Shield title two years ago.
"He is my inspiration. He has caddied for me for the last three years and is perfect for me. My aim though is to go out, enjoy the day - and win it!"
Meanwhile Paul Swan is hoping dad, Jim, can inspire him to glory.
Jim introduced Paul, 24, to golf when he was around seven and Paul has never looked back.
"He will be caddying for me. Whenever we play in club competitions we play together so I am looking forward to him helping me.
"Hopefully he will keep me calm and I don't feel any pressure. I actually prefer it when people are watching me so if there is a good crowd it will be good. Green Howarth will move down to Accrington for the day."
Paul, an electrician at Blackburn Council, made it to the semi's last year but lost to Paul Murphy.
"That was the one I wanted to win because the final was on my home course so I was upset last year. I was determined that this year I would get through to the final."
Paul admits he has got a couple of wins over on Gary in club competitions at Green Howarth.
"I did beat him in a few but Gary always seemed to win the ones I wanted - the big ones. But I know him well and he will be confident. It is all about on the day though. It is about who holds their nerve."