After making what is widely regarded as the greatest debut in Ryder Cup history to win an invaluable point in Europe’s epic victory over the USA, Nicolas Colsaerts is understandably still living in the clouds as he arrives at the WGC – HSBC Champions.
The Belgian, now simply known as ‘The Dude’ among his Ryder Cup peers, announced his arrival on the global stage with an unforgettable performance at Medinah as he almost single-handedly took down Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the Friday afternoon fourball session.
Colsaerts performance, which included eight birdies and an eagle, prompted his partner Lee Westwood to say: “It was a pleasure to watch and a joy to watch, I have to admit. You never know how people are going to react at their Ryder Cup and I think he took to it quite nicely. I don't think there has ever been a better debut than that. It was just unbelievable golf, I can't imagine anybody's ever shown up and done anything like that before.”
For Colsaerts, that performance has elevated the already confident 29 year old to attain hitherto unachievable levels of self-belief as he looks ahead to this week’s challenge over the magnificent Olazábal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club.
“I feel very light and very free after what happened at The Ryder Cup. I am still in the clouds to be honest – there is not half an hour that passes where I don’t think about it,” confessed Colsaerts.
“It’s just constant, I can’t help it. I suppose the main thoughts that come to mind immediately are winning the point with Lee on the Friday but then it all rushes back in a way: the whole experience was just unbelievable.
“The one thing I have noticed since The Ryder Cup is that it has been funny playing events with smaller crowds. It feels like you have come from playing in a World Cup final football stadium to a division three game but that has helped me for the good because I am just free-wheeling at the moment and the confidence it has given me is pretty cool.
“If you can do it on a stage like that with the whole world watching and pull some of the stuff that I did then there is a part of you that feels you can achieve anything.”
It will come as no surprise if Colsaerts kicks on and achieves even more from the game.
He arrives at the final World Golf Championship event of the season among the favourites to take home the title and the lion’s share of the US$7 million dollar prize fund and rightly so.
The Ryder Cup was a dream week for Colsaerts, but the level of performance he attained to force his way into Olazábal’s Team was outstanding as he won the Volvo World Match Play Championship and racked up a further nine top ten finishes in 2012 alone.
“I am continuing to play well but that has really been the case for me all year. I suppose The Ryder Cup has added a bit of an extra dimension my approach and attitude at the moment.
“It is always great to play these big events with very strong fields and because of the WGC status of the tournament we will have so many of the top American players coming over and that is only going to strengthen the field even more. I am looking forward to it.”