In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Yannik Paul talks about the special relationship he has with twin brother Jeremy, their ambitions to follow in the footsteps of the Molinaris, the importance of mental strength and how he could have ended up playing a different sport for a living.
I have a twin brother called Jeremy. We grew up playing golf together and played golf together at college and now he plays on the Korn Ferry Tour. We don't see each other very often but we talk at least once or twice a day. He's always the first person I call after every round so he definitely has the biggest impact on my career. Our swings are a little different but we play in a very similar way. We grew up together and we practised together and we talked about golf every day so we developed similar skills and strategies.
I don't get any satisfaction out of beating my brother. We are really competitive people but we're not competitive with each other at all. I like beating him one-on-one when we play for fun but if we play in a tournament I want him to do well. Even if I do really well, if he's not performing I'm not 100 per cent happy because we're so close that I want him to succeed the same way I want to succeed. We both want to see each other be successful.
I think to play in the Ryder Cup together would be the ultimate thing for us. We've talked about that before. We're team players, we grew up playing in a bunch of different teams, we love team sports so that would be the ultimate goal.
Growing up in Germany, soccer is the main thing and that was my first sport. I was born in Frankfurt and I'm a huge Eintracht Frankfurt fan. I couldn't go the Europa League final but I watched it. Jeremy and I were pretty good at soccer. FC Kaiserslautern were an hour away from where we lived and we had a trial and they wanted us to play for the Under-13s. But for us to do that we would have had to stay there at a boarding school and we didn't feel like leaving home that early.
My grandparents played golf and that's how my dad got into it. He took us to the golf course and we started picking up the clubs. For the first six years or so we did one weekend of soccer and one weekend of golf and then when we were 12 or 13 we decided to try to do golf professionally. We started playing tournaments every weekend. In Germany we have regional, state and national teams so we did all that stuff.
Playing with the teams was nice because you don't travel with your parents. When you're 14 you travel with another bunch of 14-year-olds that also love playing golf and then I got into the national team when I was 16. I always liked the team aspect and we had different team events and it was just a cool atmosphere hanging out with young golfers and some of them are still my best friends.
In Germany it's either golf or you study, they don't have the programmes the US have where you can focus on the academic side but also focus on golf at the same time. It was either turn pro at 19 or don't give golf a shot and focus on academics. Jeremy and I always wanted to keep playing golf but get a degree so that's why we looked into going over to the States. And due to it being a different culture, we wanted to go together. Colorado was the first school we saw and we didn't end up looking at any other schools, we loved it right away.
At college it was a huge bonus being together. When you're by yourself a lot of things can be hard or sad but if you're together things that can be awkward or sad are funny. At the beginning we were lost quite often because everything was new but we lived in the dorm together that first year and experienced everything together.
After two years at college I went home for a year and I was thinking about turning pro but then I got injured while I was at home and decided I definitely needed my business degree! I went back and finished school and it was the best decision of my life.
At college you compete against the best golfers in the world but for me it's more about personal development and personal growth. You get out of the family house and all of a sudden you're on your own and you have to grow up and organise your stuff on your own, do things like your own laundry, and I think that prepares you for life. At the beginning it was hard, it was a different atmosphere and all my friends were in Germany but it helped me in the long run. You know how to deal with adversity and setbacks and fight through that. It really helped me grow as a person.
College prepares you well for professional golf. I knew I had the game to compete on any level and after a good final season as an amateur, I always had the belief that I could beat basically anyone.
I worked a lot on the mental side of things the winter before I played on the Challenge Tour. I started doing meditation and morning routines and all that kind of stuff partly because my girlfriend is really interested in it. I've never been an emotional player on the course but I think you need to have the right mindset to fight through a couple of tough holes and I continue to work on that. That's what I think gets you into the top ten in the world. I've always felt that my golf game was good enough to compete on any level and win on any tour but what I realised was you've got to have a really strong mental game to really become one of the best players in the world and that's what I'm aiming for.
I had full status on the PGA Canada Tour in 2021 but because of Covid, I would have had to play the Forme Tour in the US and that didn't start until June so the German national coach and my agent asked if I wanted to play some Challenge Tour. I got a couple of invites and played pretty well, finished fourth in Ireland and stayed to play a few more with some more good results. That got me a category and I played the rest of the year and finished second in the Grand Final and ninth on the Road to Mallorca.
I love the travel I get to do on the DP World Tour. I'd never been to South Africa before and I really liked it. I had a great experience exploring Qatar and Kenya was pretty cool. The people were really friendly but they have different rules for driving!
This week is my first event as a professional on the DP World Tour playing on home soil and it's special. My mum is here this week and my grandma who grew up in Hamburg and my dad might come up for the weekend. My friends are really looking forward to it. Playing in front of big crowds is what we practise for. I'm really excited and I love playing in front of people.
Getting to the U.S. Open would be amazing but I see it more as a bonus. I'm confident enough that my game is good enough to get me there sooner or later but it would be amazing if I could play this year. It would be amazing to get to The Open too. I've seen something where they're expecting over 270,000 fans and I said to my caddie: 'We've got to get there'. Especially with Tiger playing there but I'm taking it step by step.
I want to get into the top 100 in the world this season and I want to finish in the top 50 in the DP World Tour Rankings and get to Dubai. I have a lot of goals but I just want to focus on sticking to my game-plan 100 per cent and trying to improve every single day and focus on what I can control.
I really miss my dog Finley when I'm on the road, he's the best guy but he's back in Colorado with my girlfriend.