As one of European golf’s rising stars, Kristoffer Broberg has had his fair share of new experiences over the last six months.
The Swede, who earned his maiden European Tour title in last year’s BMW Masters, has already had his first taste of team golf this season as part of the winning European Team at the EurAsia Cup, and now he is ready to take another step into the unknown when he makes his debut in a World Golf Championships event in the WGC-Cadillac Championship this week.
It is also Broberg’s first tournament on American soil, while even the country itself is relatively unexplored territory for 29 year old, who has only once previously crossed the Atlantic.
“This is only my second visit to America in my whole life, so it’s going to be fun,” said the World Number 68. “My girlfriend (Ladies European Tour player Camilla Lennarth) played in the LPGA Tour Qualifying School at Daytona Beach a couple of years ago, so I came across here with her, but this is only my second week in this country. So everything is new to me and this event seems fantastic.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun playing in my first WGC, especially knowing you get to play four rounds. Going up against all these great players is going to be a good test for me. It’s the next step in my career.
"I’ve no real expectations this week, so I’m going to just go out and have some fun. These are great events to be involved in.”
Of course, any player heading to Trump National Doral for the first time has to learn how to tame the famous Blue Monster course, and before heading to Miami, Broberg wisely sought the advice of his friend Alex Noren, who finished inside the top 20 in the season's first WGC tournament three years ago.
“I spoke to Alex last week when he was at home in Sweden and he said you have to be pretty smart around this track,” said Broberg. “He said don’t be so aggressive, be tactical.
“I played nine holes today and it’s tough, but not that tough. The wind is going to be the hard thing about this track. Everyone keeps saying it is tough, but I got it with no wind for my first time, so it wasn’t too bad, but you need to hit the ball a long way. Especially on 18, that was pretty tough – I hit a decent drive and a four iron.”
Another European Tour player competing in a WGC event for the first time is Australian Nathan Holman.
The 24 year old has also enjoyed a whirlwind start to 2016, bouncing back from missing out on his card at the Qualifying School by claiming his maiden European Tour title in the Australian PGA Championship at the start of December – a victory that earned him the first Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month award for this season. He then led at the halfway stage of the Maybank Championship Malaysia earlier this month before finishing in a share of eighth position, and like Broberg, he is now relishing the chance to test himself against the world’s best.
“This is a great environment to be in,” said Holman. “You’ve got the world’s top players and to compete and play against them is great.
“I’ve taken a lot of confidence from what I’ve done over the last few months. The game is obviously in pretty good shape, so I feel good knowing that and the results have shown I can compete with the top guys.
“It’s really cool to play my first WGC now. It’s something that you always look forward to. Some guys never get to play in one, so to be able to do it so young, and so quickly after turning professional, is exciting.
"I’ve played in America before as an amateur but never as a professional, so I’m really looking forward to this week.”