After missing out on last year’s Open Championship through injury, Nicolas Colsaerts is determined to make up for lost time at Royal Lytham & St Annes, the venue where he attended his first Major Championship.
The Belgian fell off a motorbike en route to Royal St George’s 12 months ago, damaging his elbow which cost him the chance to play in just his second Open Championship.
Colsaerts had an early taste of The Open as a starry-eyed teenage spectator at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1996, and while that inspired him he has had to bide his time as a player, despite turning professional 12 years ago.
The 29 year old missed the cut on his debut at Royal Troon in 2004 and then had to wait another seven years to qualify for The Open Championship, before the untimely accident denied him another opportunity last year.
“It was pretty frustrating to miss out last year as I was playing well before The Open,” he said. “My dad and I were following each other on scooter bikes and he wasn’t really keen on the idea but I thought it might be congested with Sandwich being a small town so a scooter would be the best way of getting around.
“Unfortunately I came off and hurt my elbow. But that’s just the way life is. I was watching a documentary about Thomas Levet the other day when he jumped in the lake after the French Open and broke his leg. It happens and we get over these things.”
Colsaerts’ early experience of Lytham, coupled with an appearance in the Lytham Trophy as an amateur, means he is more familiar with the course than he would have been at Royal St George’s last year.
“I like Lytham and I’m really looking forward to going back – it probably suits me better than St Georges,” he said. “I remember watching The Open when it has been played there though and watching Seve win and David Duval in 2001. So I remember most of the course, vaguely every hole.
“I was actually on site in 1996 too, so it is probably The Open venue I know the best. I played a junior event and a Belgian player, Arnaud Langenaeken, made the cut in The Open, which was extraordinary for him at the time, so I went to watch. I was 14 years old at the time and I got to have an inside look at what The Open was like.
“My good friend was caddying for him so I was allowed to go in the locker, which at 14 was great. I was psyched. It inspired me to go and play in The Open myself. It’s a week you always look forward to. For us it is the only major on our continent so you always look forward to it. I’ve always done well on links courses so I’m hoping to do well.”
After winning the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May and finishing in the top 30 in the US Open, Colsaerts has plenty of cause for optimism as he prepares for only his fourth appearance in a Major Championship.
“It’s been a bit of a wait to get back into The Open after 2004,” he said. “I’ve been pro for about 12 years now and I’ve only played in three Majors. So I’m a fair way back behind the other guys but I’m getting more experience now playing in WGCs. Winning the Volvo World Match Play too – it is a different format but you build your confidence with big wins like that.”