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RYDER CUP | HIGHLIGHT

Mega Impact Nicolas Colsaerts, the only rookie on the European team, delivered a performance of the ages on day one, writes Garrett Johnston.

HKGOLFER.COM

thing and they laughed,” he said. They aren’t laughing now. His mother Danielle, a photographer, and father Patrick ,who used to run a family business back home in Brussels, are seeing their son escalate to unprecedented heights in golf. But his golfing career has not always been this smooth. “Everything came pretty easy,” Colsaerts said of his early years on the European Tour. “I got my card for the Tour on my first go-around when I was 18. Everything fell into place so easy that I never really had to think about how to prepare and how to train.” Colsaerts admits that he was too much into the party scene in Brussels, only played fifteen tournaments a year, and lost all focus as he fell to outside the top 1,000 in the world rankings. “All of the sudden I had no tour to play on and I had to find something, he remembered.” Colsaerts spent a couple years at the International Academy of Golf in Brisbane, Australia, where he was in need of an “electrical shock” to wake up his drive for the game. He came back to Europe and in the early part of 2010, at the Dubai Desert Classic, and joined forces with the easy-going Australian caddie Brian Nilsson. A central piece to Colsaerts’ eventual Ryder Cup selection was a win, with Nilsson on the bag, at the 2011 China Open in Chengdu. Nilsson says that Colsaerts is a true competitor and that watching him during the high-points of the Ryder Cup was revealing. “He showed the world how good he was,” Nilsson said. “It was the best week I’ve ever had on a golf course.” Colsaerts agrees and is already looking forward to Gleneagles in two years time. “After playing on the Ryder Cup once you feel like you don’t want to miss out on any other ones,” he said. With the tall Belgian earning his cards for both the European and PGA Tours it will be hard for fans to miss out on seeing him compete on golf’s greatest stages in the months ahead. HK Golfer・NOV 2012

Charles McLaughlin

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yder Cup rookie Nicolas Colsaerts enjoyed a sensational start to his week at Medinah thanks to the most explosive debut in the storied history of the biennial matches. Beating Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the first day while paired with European stalwart Lee Westwood quickly got his Ryder Cup experience into gear. Colsaerts first watched this international slugfest in 1991 during the “War by the Shore”, and promptly shot 10-under in his very first outing against formidable opposition. Colsaerts’ round included one eagle and eight birdies. “It felt wonderful to be able to produce and deliver on such a big stage,” Colsaerts said after his match. “With a lot of eyes on you and this unbelievable atmosphere.” In May he beat the European hero of the 2010 Ryder Cup, Graeme McDowell, at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain. But his match play experience actually extends back to two junior Ryder Cups in 1997 at Valderamma and in 1999 at Brookline, Massachusetts. “What a week,” he said of this year’s Ryder Cup. “It was just awesome.” He may have a powerful and intimidating game, Colsaerts is known as the “Belgian Bomber” for his prodigious distance, but his demeanor is very disarming and friendly. Colsaerts is the first player to ever represent Belgium in the Ryder Cup and was quick to explain the significance of this event to both himself and his teammates. “I think it means the same to every European guy that plays it,” Colsaerts said. “Pride. You play for something so much bigger than your own country: you play for a whole continent.” Colsaerts picked up the game at age six and vividly remembers the first moment, during his formative years, that he decided he wanted pursue golf as a profession. At the age of 12 he read an article about Bernhard Langer dropping out of school at age sixteen to pursue golf. “I told my parents that I was going to do the same

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