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Tom Lewis - Player Blog
Player Blog

Tom Lewis - Player Blog

In this week's Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Tom Lewis discusses the highs and lows since his second DP World Tour win at the 2018 Portugal Masters, the fine margins between missed cuts and titles, and why he believes his best years are ahead of him.

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I am in no doubt that I return to the Portugal Masters this week a better golfer than when I lifted my second DP World Tour title here four years ago. Back then it had been seven years since my first Tour title at the same venue, Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, and it was long overdue. Now, I am far less stressed about my performances on a week-by-week basis. I am happy off the course too and that makes a big difference for me. 

If I am being brutality honest with myself, I feel I have ended up wasting this year. In hindsight I should have come back from the Korn Ferry Tour to play on the DP World Tour earlier this season. If I had played on the DP World Tour for a greater proportion of the season, then I would be in a much better place on the DP World Tour Rankings. We all make some mistakes, at the time I felt it was the right thing to stay playing in America because I wanted to regain my PGA TOUR card after losing it last year.

I was really disappointed about the fact that I lost my status over there. I felt confident and comfortable playing on the PGA TOUR in the previous two years, having gained my card by winning the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in 2019. It was a late decision to play in that event as Europe was my focus and I had never played on the Korn Ferry Tour before. I enjoyed being on the PGA TOUR with many of the best players in the world and learnt a lot from those experiences. It wasn’t something that overawed me. I had some good results, including in my rookie season when I shot a course record equalling 61 on my way to finishing in a tie for second at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in August 2020.

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Putting the golf aside, it was difficult to move out to America. I missed my family and good friends when I was living there. If I was to play the PGA TOUR again I would do it slightly differently and potentially keep the UK as my ‘base’, play three to four events in a row in the US and then come home for two weeks. I learned a lot about myself as both a golfer and an individual from being out there. 

I think good things are going to come for me. I am still only 31 years old. That is old if you want to be a great, but my time has passed in terms of being a legend. I can still probably be a great player over the next ten years. I remain confident that the next ten to 15 years are going to be the best of my career.

My results have been trending in the right direction in the last couple of months. On returning to the DP World Tour I had three top 20 finishes in four events, in the Czech Republic, Denmark and Italy respectively. Now, I am coming to a course that has suited my game over the years so fingers crossed I can perform well this week. I arrived on Tuesday and played a few holes in practice and made a few birdies. I am already settled and at ease on the course. My game is never far away from winning versus missing the cut.

I made a lot of changes to my team earlier this season. I was able to digest stuff on my own rather than relying on other people. I teamed up with a new caddie and we immediately clicked as a pair. As serious as I might look sometimes, I can be quite funny, and he enjoys being around me. We both enjoy each other’s company and that helps. I have really enjoyed competing while also being relaxed both on and off the course since I made those decisions.

Going forward, my focus is on nothing other than winning. Financially I am in a good position and that alleviates stress off my shoulders. If I can try to enjoy my life a little bit more then hopefully my golf can reflect how free I am. But for me it is going to be a matter of chasing more wins. I have lacked titles, but believe there is no reason why I can’t catch up on the missed opportunities of the last ten years of my career.

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Even though I need a big week in Portugal to earn my full playing rights on the DP World Tour for next season, I am approaching this event no different to any other week. That is to try and not be too hard on myself and make as many committed shots as possible. That will ultimately help my chances of making birdies, putting together good scores and hopefully entertaining people in the process.

If I finish outside the top 117 on the DP World Tour Rankings at the end of this week, I will go to Q School. I regained my Tour card there in 2016 so know what is required. If that doesn’t work out then I will speak to my manager and we will figure out a schedule, whether that is waiting for tournaments here or playing in America or in Asia but there will be opportunities for me next year. I am not concerned about that.

Over the years I do believe I have tried to perfect my game too much. I didn’t have to try as hard as I did and as a result, I burned myself out in between events. Whereas recently I have got to a position where I am more relaxed, and I have been able to enjoy myself more and spend time with friends. My expectation levels have changed so that can hopefully help me going forward. There are going to be ups and downs in my career and I think I probably put too much pressure on myself to perform but experience is something that comes with time.

If I putt well, I play well because I always hit the ball well. If I putt poorly then rather than putting myself in with a chance of contending over the week, I am fighting to make the cut. Putting is what separates the winners from the people that are struggling. That is the way I see golf at the moment which is maybe the reason I am not so stressed about my results. I know I have got the game to win at this level, maybe things are just not meant to be at the minute. But I don’t think I am far away from something very good happening.

Self-belief is something that I need to regain. It is always going to be an element of my game that I am going to fight, I shouldn’t have to because I believe I am definitely good enough to perform every year, but sometimes these things are easier said than done. The putting will come with some confidence. You look at all the best players in the world, there have always been some great players down the years that have struggled with their putting. I just think that guys are now a little better in other facets of their game and therefore it is harder for players to reach their high standards when they do not putt so well. It is something I am going to have to work hard on in the next six months if I want to win again.

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