Rolex Series

Rai determined to keep passion in play

Aaron Rai insisted he would not be changing his approach to golf as he continued his recent run of success with an excellent 68 on day one of the 2020 BMW PGA Championship.

Aaron Rai

The Englishman is making a habit of excelling at the European Tour's most storied events, claiming his maiden win at the 2019 Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi and then finishing second at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open two weeks ago.

He followed that up with a first Rolex Series victory at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and arrived at Wentworth Golf Club for the European Tour's flagship event as the form man on the Race to Dubai.

A bogey free four under par effort in Surrey maintained his momentum and a win this week would put him in a strong position to potentially claim the Harry Vardon Trophy in December.

The 25-year-old acknowledges that shifts in ambition can often lead to a different mentality, but Rai is determined to keep his feet on the ground and, hopefully in turn, stay in love with the game.

"When everyone starts at sport, we start out of passion and we start out of enjoyment of it being a hobby," he said. "Along the line, it's very easy to lose that through competing at a high level in junior golf and amateur golf and turning professional. 

"You're spending money, you're earning money, and the original meaning of the game that was once a passion and love begins to get diluted over a long period of time.

"I feel that it's important to try to keep that alive as much as possible and I just think trying to keep things simple - for me, anyway, it's not necessarily the right way to do things for everyone, but for me - it's the right way to go."

As well as keeping the passion alive, Rai is determined to keep his focus on the game, and cites that as one of the reasons why he stays off social media.

"I know there are so many benefits to social media and it's the way the world has gone now, and it can be used in a very positive way, but I just feel it's simpler to be without," he said.

Aaron Rai

"I feel that I just want to try to focus on the game as much as possible and just try to improve as much as possible. 

"I know as a golfer, everyone out here is trying to be a brand to some extent, but I just want to put the golf first.

"I would like to certainly create positives around me, whether that's through being a brand or whether that's not through being a brand. I'm not sure whether it's through interviews or whether it's through helping out or whether it's through trying to do the right thing as much as possible. 

"Then hopefully I can have a positive effect, even on a small scale, and that's something I would be happy with."

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