Ahead of the Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9 we spoke to Australia’s Jordan Zunic about travel, playing with Jason Day and his remarkable recovery from a serious injury.
So Jordan how are you feeling ahead of your first appearance on the European Challenge Tour?
I’m obviously very excited. I have been building up to this for the last couple of months and the Challenge Tour will be my main focus for the year. My end goal is to get on the European Tour and this is the pathway to that.
I had some experience playing a few European Tour events last year – I’ve had a bit of a taste of what it is like and I really want to play on that tour as it is awesome.
I’m now fully focused on playing here for a full season and I’m excited to see how I will match up against some of Europe’s best players.
I have only really been to the UK, Spain and Europe so I’m excited to see a few more countries. There are a few other guys from Australia on the tour too so it is really nice to be able to travel around with them.
You’re still based in Australia so what is your plan now? Are you going to be in Europe until November and just see how many starts you can get?
I am planning to be in Europe for 12 weeks before I go home for a little bit in July. There is Open Qualifying just before that, so hopefully I will be going home after playing in The Open – that would be perfect!
After seeing the family for a bit I will play the Fiji International where I will get a start through my Australian Tour category.
After that I will see where I am at on the Challenge Tour – hopefully I will be in contention so can really push on between September and November.
You mention the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia where you have won twice. How much confidence does that give coming into the Challenge Tour season?
To have a good start to my professional career and win early was nice and obviously gave me the confidence to know I am good enough to win.
There are a lot of good players on the Challenge Tour though. It is a very competitive tour and I saw last year how good the scoring was. But, at the end of the day that is the sort of competition I want to being playing against – as ultimately I want to get to the top level in the world.
The Challenge Tour does such a good job with preparing us for the European Tour – if we play well enough to get our card it is not a shock when we get on the European Tour.
You made a fantastic start to your career as you’ve said, but wasn’t that start unfortunately put on hold after you were involved in a car accident?
I had originally planned to turn pro in 2014 but I didn’t end up turning pro until 2015 because I was injured in a car accident late in 2013.
Another car hit our car and we slammed into a telegraph pole. I was sitting where the pole collided with the car and I had a large laceration on the side of my head.
I cut my temporal artery open and lost around 40% of my blood by the time I got to hospital – I also had three compression fractures in my elbow as well.
I went straight into surgery and had to have two bags of blood transfused back into me – so it wasn’t good. I didn’t realise it was that bad until after surgery. I was awake during the time of the accident so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal because the adrenaline was pumping.
I was off golf for four months then it took me the whole of the next year to get back into the swing of things and make sure that my health was back to normal.
Because I had lost so much blood my iron levels were low which meant I had no energy. I could not even walk 50 metres up the road without getting tired.
That was a setback but when I was given the all clear that I didn’t have any permanent damage physically, I just had to go through my rehab and get everything strong again. That gave me the motivation to get back out there and play the game I love.
I was back out playing after four months and I won a few tournaments as an amateur. I had a lot of focus and the motivation to turn professional and make the best of everything.
You played in two World Golf Championships last year, how was that?
Winning the BMW New Zealand Open in 2015 gave me a four-year exemption on the Australian Tour and from that I went on to finish second on the Order of Merit. That got me into some European Tour events last year and I also played at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-HSBC Champions.
I have been fortunate to play in some really big events with some of the best players, so to have that experience early on in my career is unbelievable.
I got to play some practice rounds with some good golfers I can learn off. I played with Jason Day in Doral, then Adam Scott and Brooks Koepka when I was in China. To ask those guys questions and learn from them was a really cool experience.
I also played in the Alfred Dunhill Links last year, which was probably one of my favourite weeks ever.
The event is run amazingly and you have an amazing time when you’re not on the golf course. I’ve also always loved that town having played there as an amateur in the St Andrews Links Trophy. It is one of my favourite places in the world.
I am now into the third year of my pro career and I feel like it has flown by! I’m now looking forward to a good grind on the Challenge Tour and I have no doubt that if I have the opportunity to play a full season I can earn a card for the European Tour.