Andy Sullivan admits he may never be Mr Universe but is hopeful better physical preparation can help him get 2017 off to a flying start at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni.
The Englishman won his first European Tour title at this event in 2015 and has never looked back, claiming two more trophies that season and making his Ryder Cup debut in 2016.
He now returns to Glendower Golf Club in his usual high spirits as he starts his 2017 campaign, and insists he has never been better prepared for a new season.
"I am really looking forward to it," he said. "It’s always nice to come back to somewhere you have done well in the past, and then to get away from the crappy weather back home is also a nice bonus and makes a big difference to practice.
"I think this is the best ever prepared I have been to start a year. I have done a lot of gym work this year and have really looked after myself physically and mentally and that has paid off coming into the new year.
"My coach said that things are looking better at this time of year than they ever have. You are usually using a bit of trial and error at your first event of the year but my game actually feels in pretty good shape.
"Flexibility has been a massive thing for me. I have worked hard on that. I have been liaising between my golf and fitness coaches and bringing them more together so the two things are related.
"If there are certain positions my golf coach wants me to get into then I can work on the stretches with my fitness coach to make that a bit easier.
"I think that is why Goughie (Jamie Gough), my golf coach, has seen improvements even though I haven’t hit a lot of balls. So little things like that have really helped.
"It’s all really light stuff – I am not bulking it up or anything. I’m not going to turn into Mr Universe or anything like that!"
With Gauteng a happy hunting ground for the 29 year old, he is delighted to once again be starting the season in South Africa and believes this week could serve as the perfect springboard for the rest of the year.
It’s all really light stuff – I am not bulking it up or anything. I’m not going to turn into Mr Universe or anything like that! - Andy Sullivan
"I love this course but I feel this week is also great preparation for the Desert Swing as well," he said.
"This course is tight and the rough is up which the courses in the desert are like as well, so I think if I do well here then I can really take that into the desert as well.
"I am climbing the ladder and if I can get into contention at (a Major Championship) this year it would be great.
"And obviously I want to go to the Masters Tournament and do a lot better than I did last year. Hopefully I won’t be absolutely papping myself this year!
"I think I’ll be better this year. I never really get nervous on the course but I just could not settle there at all. It was torture.
"I think I just had it in my head that it was my first Masters and it just got out of hand and I just couldn’t settle."
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