Australia's Brett Rumford writes this week's Player Blog, talking about his emotional win in Perth earlier this year, his passion for cycling and his famed short game.
When the heat kicks in around here it can make the golf ball go a lot further. With the altitude we’re at it might be around two to four per cent, but when it gets hotter it could be eight to ten per cent, almost like Crans Montana, where the guys are playing next week. Club selection can be tricky. When you’ve got heat and drops of five metres going into greens with mid-irons it can put you a long way out sometimes. There is a lot of trouble out here. The greens are big, but you’ve got to be in the right section if you want to be giving yourself opportunities of making birdies.
Looking back on the win at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth, it was all about the lead-up to it. I had some really good performances, even though I lost my tour card the year before by a few spots. It was good to get some intensity back on the mental side of my game. I had that one event earmarked. The whole golf course suits my eye and I had played there a lot as a junior. Being at home was important as well, just sleeping in your own bed, and a lot of other positives like that, really made the difference.
There was a new format as well, so for me it was about qualifying for the match play and then taking it one game at a time. It was my sixth win and it was so different winning at home compared to any other victory. It was nice to go from my media commitments to the courtyard of Lake Karrinyup and see friends and family and have a party back at mine. That celebration was so unique and the most special thing about the week.
I was working very hard with Aaron Doyle, my trainer, for about a year and a half up until my surgery. Mainly it’s just about longevity, health and well-being, not only about hitting the golf ball further. I came back to Australia after about 19 days in South Africa following surgery and it was like back to being a baby pretty much. During surgery, I was cut through the abdomen, where all the power is.
Not being able to blow up a balloon or roll over was quite a shock and I didn’t realise how much it’d take me back to zero. I lost 10kg too. Aaron’s knowledge of knowing where to start has helped me get back quicker and I’ve probably come back as strong as I was before. The fact I was fit and healthy pre-surgery made the process quicker. To have gone to the gym and started with deadlifts would have been catastrophic.
Under two years ago I had major surgery to remove 12" of small intestine. Last week I was fortunate enough to win my sixth European Tour event. Words can't explain the emotional and physical journey back to the winners circle. One thing I've learnt: Don't chase time away, work hard in the present and let the past happen! I want to take this opportunity to thank the major sponsor ISPS Handa (Dr Handa) for his amazing contribution to the world of golf. Thank you to all the staff @pgatouraus and @europeantour in particular Kieth Pelley for what is 'exciting times' ahead for the European Tour. Aaron Doyle from @drive360 for his continued guidance from rehab to now - your awesome! A big thanks to @lakekarrinyupcountryclub and it's members for hosting the event at one of Australia's premier golf clubs. To the volunteers and staff of the event, thank you! To @perthtourism and the West Australian Government for your financial support and courage to back something different. The tournament wouldn't have happened without you! @garybartergolf Thank you for being you - your a legend! Finally to my family and friends (in particular my Wife, Sally) for all your love and continued support. It was an amazing week😊
When you first come out on tour it can be quite difficult. It’s a shock when you’re removed from your family and friends to a place where it’s very individual and ego-driven, but that’s only on a competitive level. On the flip-side there are a lot of guys who you can bounce ideas off and get support from. It’s just about getting over the intimidation or the barrier that comes with being out here by yourself.
One of the European Tour’s strengths is that it is so multicultural. There’s nobody here who could say they own the tour, because it’s just too vast. When you’ve been out here for so long you end up making fun of each other and it’s just a good laugh. Everybody plays and works hard.
I think Pete’s knowledge of the game and interest in me gave me some credence, and led to guys approaching me about their own short game. Pete has always had an unbelievable understanding of the swing and his thirst for knowledge has always been there. That’s why he’s such a good coach – his ability to evolve and adapt. When you play some ridiculous golf shots, you kind of think ‘well, isn’t everyone doing that?’ Then you quickly realise that not everyone can, but we’ve all got our own strengths and weaknesses. I mean I can’t hit a fairway!
The thing with coaching is that it can be a really powerful tool to not only deliver something but actually demonstrate it as well. If you can talk the talk and then produce a result, that’s key. If you can give guys out here an idea, they’ll just find their way of doing it. When you hit balls from the age of five or ten, you get a tremendous feel for the game. I give a few tips here and there – I’m not saying I’ve turned anyone’s career around!
I look forward to the day where I can actually really help to transform someone’s game and spend the time with them. It’s about giving them the understanding and the knowledge of what the short game is all about. It’s come a long way with TrackMan and it’s helped a lot of players, with face angles and so on. Even still I can’t wait to help on a junior level and the senior level in the amateur ranks.
The kids out here are getting taller with bigger leverages, but they’re just fitter and stronger as well. You used to have the naturally gifted player, with that farm boy strength that could swing a club at 120mph like Jack Nicklaus back in the day. Jon Rahm is the perfect example – he’s got a Nicklaus build. I was watching him at the HNA Open de France this year and you could just see so much power and the guy’s only 23. I could be in the gym from the age of three and wouldn’t get to his size. He’s just naturally gifted.
If you’re prepared to put in the hours and work in the gym you can do it. So it’s not just technology, it’s also about professionalism. From psychology to physiology and the technical side of TrackMan too, it’s about education. Human evolution and the environment we’re in these days means it’s all becoming so advanced. Although we’re very technical, it is making it easier. Before it was about ‘feel it, don’t think too much, don’t change the swing’, whereas now guys can change a swing numerous times and keep performing. There’s no particular rule of thumb these days.
I’m a massive cycling fan. I first got into cycling in my teenage years. I did a little bit of riding a few years ago with a triathlete buddy of mine, who was also a pro at my golf club as well. That got me hooked. I like the physicality of riding and the mental escape. There’s nothing on this planet that enables me to focus in on one thing and clear my mind like cycling. Three hours can go by in the space of what feels like ten minutes. It’s very therapeutic for me, as well as being about the camaraderie I have with my buddies doing it.
I ride with some impressive guys and it keeps me motivated as well. When I go home it’s great to hook up with them and I follow them throughout the year too. I’m more interested in what they’re doing than maybe they are in me! My goal would actually be to compete in a UCI Masters World Championship one day. It’d be great to have two or three years to do some proper training and give it a crack. It’d be cool to tick it off the bucket list.