Marcel Siem warmed up for the defence of his Trophée Hassan II title by going fishing, and the German is hoping to reel in another victory when the €1.5million tournament takes place next week in Agadir, Morocco.
It seems Siem wields a fishing rod with rather less skill than he swings a golf club, as he admits that his ungainly attempts produced far more misses than hits.
But the 33 year old is hopeful that a return to dry land, and the familiar environs of the magnificent Golf du Palais Royal, will yield a greater return.
This week will mark Siem’s first appearance on The European Tour since he finished in a tie for 37th place in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the start of February.
Siem made the cut in all three tournaments which comprise the Desert Swing but was not especially happy with the state of his game, so took the decision to head to America to catch up on the winter practice he had missed as a result of the knee surgery he underwent at the end of last year.
Whilst there, Siem caught up with his friend and mentor Bernhard Langer, who after turning 50 relocated from his native Germany to Florida to compete on the US Champions Tour full-time.
The sometimes fiery Siem admits that Langer’s presence invariably has a calming influence on him, and he needed all his patience when he decided to hit the open waters for a fishing trip with fellow German Alex Cejka.
Siem said: “I made the cut in all three tournaments in the Middle East but never really got myself into contention, so I decided to head over to Adios Golf Club, in Florida, to do some practice. They always look after me there and it’s also very close to Bernhard’s house, so I played a few practice rounds with him and I also went fishing a couple of times.
“One time I got stopped by the water police because I was going a bit too fast in our boat, so I had to pay a fine but in return I asked them for some advice on where the best place to fish was. They took us to a deeper part, which was much better. We caught a few fish but nothing big, so hopefully I have more luck on the golf course in Morocco next week.”
Langer was partly responsible for Siem’s success 12 months ago, as the two-time Masters champion imparted some words of wisdom to his young charge on the eve of the final round, which culminated in Siem winning by three shots to secure his third European Tour title.
He recalled: “It’s always great to speak with Bernhard. He’s so calm that it really relaxes you, which is not something I’ve been that good at in the past. Any time you’re leading going into the final round, the night before can be quite tough. But speaking to him really put me at ease, and luckily I was able to go out and finish the job the next day.”
Since the tournament joined The European Tour International Schedule in 2010, nobody has successfully defended the Trophée Hassan II title; but such is Siem’s affinity with the course and indeed the country, it would be a brave man to bet against him doing so next week.
He said: “I always enjoy going to Morocco. I really love the food, and the mint tea – the first thing I do when I’ve checked into the hotel is to have a mint tea. I also love being near the ocean, so the tournament was one of my favourites of the season even before I won it last year.
“It’s just a very special place and a very special tournament, so I’m genuinely excited about going back. I got off to the perfect start with a 64 on the opening day last year, and never really looked back after that. If I can open with another 64 this year, I’ll be a very happy man.”