This week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car comes from the Højgaard twins, Nicolai and Rasmus, as lockdown restrictions ease in Denmark and the brothers return to the golf course under continued social distancing guidelines.
Rasmus: The courses in Denmark have opened so we have been able to practise the last two weeks. We play on different courses, one is a bit closer to where we live, and the other we usually play at is Silkeborg.
Nicolai: Lockdown was about a month and a half in total until some things started to open up again. Some golf courses were still open during that time, so we could actually play if we wanted to, but we followed the guidelines from our Government to stay at home because we could do everything we needed to there. We have a net in the garden so the Trackman was getting used a lot over the past few weeks!
Rasmus: While we had a net in the garden to practise, it did get kind of boring for hours on end. I would have sessions for 30 minutes or so, then go and do something else to occupy my mind, and then come back again a bit fresher. I was only doing a couple of hours a day but there were some days when I didn’t play at all. We have a self-made putting practise but it is only two metres, so that helps in a way, but it is harder with the short game to get the touch and feel around the greens.
Our other aim is to play The Ryder Cup together at some point.
Nicolai: To stay mentally sharp we did sessions virtually with our coach and a variety of drills that should help in getting both of us ready for what is to come when it is time to play.
We also have a computer at home, so we have also spent a bit of our time in quarantine playing Call of Duty and Counter Strike. Naturally we are competitive and always play against each other, and even if we don’t specifically say there is something riding on it, there always is – one of us ends up paying for lunch or something like that. It tends to be a 50/50 split, so as we are evenly matched.
Rasmus: That has always been the case. There are some seasons where one of us has a little more success than the other, but we are generally the same and that evens out. When we were ten-year-old’s we had almost the same handicap and it stayed that way while we were amateurs…and still is to this day.
Denmark 🇩🇰 have won the #Eisenhower Trophy 🏆 for the first time after a phenomenal final day.— Int'l Golf Fed. (@IGFgolf) September 8, 2018
Twins Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard combined to produce a -13 score which sees them take the title on -39. #WATC2018
Congratulations to the whole team! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/COwIsftzlO
Rasmus: My main goal for the 2019 season was to keep a Challenge Tour card for 2020. I started playing off seven invites, so I was very fortunate to receive those from some of the event promoters. I actually finished second in my first Challenge Tour event, so my card was pretty safe, and I could play the whole season on the Challenge Tour. It was a long year and I finished 21st in the Rankings so it was a pretty good first season as a professional. I went to the Qualifying School Final Stage as a bonus and thought if I made it through great but not to be too hard on myself if I didn’t. But as things turned out, everything went my way and I got my card.
I decided to travel for the two European Tour events before Christmas and see how things went. Played well in South Africa, not so great at the weekend, but overall a good first week and I was happy with that. Then I went on to Mauritius thinking one more week to go and then I can have a vacation…well, everything just clicked with my game and I got that first win. It was amazing!
Nicolai: The KLM Open was a fun week for me last year. I didn’t have any starts on the Challenge Tour at that time and then got an invite to the KLM Open after a Monday Pro-Am. I had one of my best friends as a caddie as we travelled to Amsterdam together. I was feeling good as soon as the tournament started, but it is a long way from feeling good to getting results. Then suddenly I was there on Sunday coming down the stretch, with a putt on the final green to join Sergio Garcia in a play-off! It was an awesome feeling and really helped me at the end of last season and looking ahead to this season.
Rasmus: Because we are so young, we want to go for everything! Maybe we are rushing things a little bit and people are saying calm down as we have a lot of years ahead, so for now we are trying to make an action plan for what is to come and take things step-by-step to build a career. It has always been a goal for Nicolai and me to play the European Tour and travel the world together with the opportunities on offer to us, so once Nicolai joins the European Tour it will be a lot of fun and we will have hit one of our main goals. Our other aim is to play The Ryder Cup together at some point.
Nicolai: The Junior Ryder Cup was a special week. At the start of 2018 we set the whole calendar schedule around the event in Paris, so when we got there it was very special. The first thing we said to the captain was send us out first in the morning foursomes. It was an incredible experience.
Nicolai: Sometimes it is a bit weird walking alongside the stars of Danish golf, especially Thomas Bjørn, who has been out there for 25 years. He has said some very nice things about us, and we always listen very carefully when he speaks. It is nice to have Thomas there to help us because all of us Danes look up to him - he is the greatest player Denmark has ever had. He is an idol of ours and now we can speak to him and get his advice. Similarly, Søren Kjeldsen, these are two guys we have really looked up to for our whole lives and now get advice from them both. We have also been talking to Søren Hansen as well. He has a lot of experience as Ryder Cup player and we love hearing his stories from the event!
Rasmus: We are now starting to practise more and think about getting our games sharp for when tournaments do start again. Over the next few days, we have a small group and we are playing a little tournament over two days at Silkeborg, where the Made in Denmark tournament was played a couple of years ago. We will have games to feel the competitive side of things again but still ensuring we are social distancing and taking all the advice in relation to Covid-19. We will play in three groups of four, keeping our distance from each other as you have to be careful. No high-fives or shaking hands, playing with the flag in all the time and keeping our distance.
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