Think Young, Play Hard: Nicolas Colsaerts
Age: 29 | Height: 6-feet-1
Born/Residence: Brussels, Beligum | Career: Two-time winner on the European Tour (Volvo China Open, Volvo World Match Play) with 11 other top-10 finishes in the past two years. Turned pro at 18 and became the second-youngest player to earn a European Tour card.
ON LEADING THE EUROPEAN TOUR IN DRIVING DISTANCE (316.7 YARDS)
I think it's timing. I'm always amazed when I look at some guys. They're swinging so fast, with furious action. But if you look at me, it looks very relaxed, a lot smoother. I realized I shouldn't watch other long hitters because they're going to hurt my rhythm.
ON MAKING THE RYDER CUP
It was a dream come true. The first one I remember was at Kiawah, which is funny because I've worked with [1991 U.S. captain] Dave Stockton on my putting. It was great talking to him about it. The one two years ago in Wales? Even though I wasn't there, I was really into it watching on TV. Now I get to play in one.
ON HAND-EYE COORDINATION
Growing up in Belgium, since I was old enough to walk, I've always had some kind of stick, racket or club in one hand and a ball in the other. Golf, tennis, squash, field hockey. All I did was think about what I wanted the ball to do, and the motion would just happen. It always seemed natural to me.
ON CHOOSING GOLF OVER OTHER SPORTS
In Belgium, it was not popular. Luckily, something about golf spoke to me. I liked the fact that you have to do it on your own. Sure, there are coaches, and caddies and managers. But when you're out there, it's just you.
ON WINNING THIS YEAR'S VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
When you start to play better on the biggest stages, you realize you can compete with the best. I won in China , I won the Match Play, I led the U.S. Open for a short time this year and I shot two 65s in the British Open. They all add up, and you think, I know what I'm doing.
ON HIS CHILDHOOD IDOL
I was a Freddie Couples guy. I liked how smooth he looked--like he was walking around the park with a bunch of golf clubs. That's what I wanted to do.
ON PLAY VERSUS PRACTICE
I'm pretty fortunate that I don't need to spend a lot of time on the range. I finished second in China [Volvo China Open] in April, and I didn't hit a range ball all week. I'd swing the club for about five minutes to get loose and then go out and play.
I turned pro 12 years ago and immediately earned my tour card, but then I lost it and struggled for a long time. I got to a point around 2008 where I knew I wasn't going to be the youngest to do this or the first to do that. I was playing smaller tournaments in France that were nowhere near where I should have been. It was time to decide who I was going to be and where I was going to go.
ON THE TURNAROUND
The wake-up call was when I went to Australia for a couple of months in 2008 to a golf academy there. I thought it would be a good idea to leave Brussels behind and the lifestyle I had and go somewhere on my own to think and get my golfer identity back. I'm glad I did.