Ryan Ruffels hopes he has made a big turn. Image: Getty
Ryan Ruffels admitted that he was "scared" at the first tee, that was the depth of his recent malaise.
The brilliant, young Australian professional and one-time junior world champion seems to have made a corner last weekend with his second place on the PGA Tour Latino, but it has only served to remind him how low he was in 2018.
In a revealing interview with the Inside The Ropes podcast from Golf Australia, Ruffels said he played so badly that he had no idea where the ball was going in 2018.
He said his confidence had disappeared, forcing him to change coach – from Marty Joyce, who coached him to Denis McDade in 2017-18, his original coach from the age of 11 and the former mentor for Marc Leishman, among others.
Ruffels earned just $ 11,000 in 11 events in Latin America last year, a huge underperformance for a player who was rated one of the best amateurs in the world a few years ago. A bad shoulder injury – a disruption that occurred during a tournament – hardly helped.
"I came to a point in September last year, where I came to an event and a few practice rounds I couldn't play," said the 20-year-old.
"That was difficult for me. I remember being in a hotel in Brazil last year just before the first round was hit, thinking:" What am I going to do? I can't hit the fairway with a 3-iron ".
"Yes, totally scared to play. I have always been a hard worker, but that hard work turned analysis, as opposed to creativity, to let the natural ability that I have received flow. That was probably hardest place I had to think about an event: & # 39; How the hell am I supposed to play? & # 39; (Then) to later retire from a few events to get things back on track. "
Ruffels said he had no hard feelings toward Joyce, who works with a few other bright young Australian stars such as Zach Murray and David Micheluzzi. He said that he and Joyce were still "good friends", but that he had to bring the change back to his old swing.
"Marty is a fantastic coach, he has great players … So it didn't make sense, but it didn't go very well for me. We changed quite a few things and they were all logical and they are probably all the right things, but they were just different from things I've done all my life, so for me, when I came under some kind of pressure, I just couldn't support myself because it wasn't me, it wasn't a part of my DNA, it was not something that I could trust. "
In retrospect, he has taken responsibility for what he regards as a mistake. Ruffels said it was because of him "being a little reactive, naive and in a way 18".
"I didn't make the widest call I ever made, be reactive to things that don't happen as quickly as I want it to happen and try to do something about it."
Ruffels must complete the top five of the Latino Tour this year to earn a Web.com card for 2020 and said he had finished accepting invitations to play on the main PGA Tour, a choice for which he was criticized. "The next time you see me on the PGA Tour, I deserve it," he said.
Ruffels said he looked at his down patch as a learning experience. "I'm 20. Most people are still on uni when they are 20. Sometimes, if a company doesn't make a profit for a few years, it's not ready yet. You just started. Year) Jim Furyk plays in the Players ( Championship), I am 20 and I am ready? I find it a bit interesting. "
Full podcast here: