His wife Rachael is Australian, just like his caddy, Brian Nilsson. So, although far from home, the Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is one visitor who does not feel at home in the run-up to the 103rd #AusOpenGolf.
Yes, the year old – today he turns 36 – wanted to go to the end of the European Tour this weekend (he finished 80th during the race to Dubai, 16 places short for qualifying) but he is more than happy to be back in the country he claimed with the revival of his earlier fluttering career.
"I came back here in 2010 and 2011 after a number of very bad years", says the former Ryder Cup player.
"I did not have any status on a tour, I was not anywhere near where I needed to be, but I got so much help here, and when I went back I stepped into the Challenge Tour and then into the European Tour. place where I have a lot of affection and respect, it has a great symbolic meaning for me
"I met my wife for the first time at a New Year's party in Byron Bay in 2011. We lost sight of each other afterwards, but when I came here three years ago to play at the Australian Open in The Australian, I needed a guide. So I called her, before you know we have a nine-month-old son. "
Such a story is typical of the man. Colsaerts has always marched to its own pace. A cosmopolitan soul that speaks five languages - French, English, Dutch, Spanish and Italian – is both interesting and interested. That is probably the reason why the two years he spent on the PGA Tour in America did not bring the success he might have expected. Armed with the kind of powerful game that tends to flourish on American courses, the Brussels citizen who makes his home in Monte Carlo failed on the other side of the Atlantic.
"The PGA Tour is a strange place," he says. "I did not like to be there anyway, I missed the changes in the environment you encounter during the European Tour, I know that Arizona is not the Northeast and that Florida is different, but the experience was too much every week. for me the same, it did my head in it
"The whole experience is still a disappointment for me, and to this day I regret not to do better, but I just could not be there to always be there, it was not for me. back in my hotel room every night and I had dinner There was no real contact with anyone I grew up in the center of a big European capital surrounded by culture So staying in a hotel in the middle of Ohio did not really me, it was all too superficial. "
Nevertheless, the culmination of the Colsaerts career – so far at least – took place in America. As a member of the European Ryder Cup-side of 2012, the two-time European Tour Champion had a close-up of what became known as "the miracle in Medinah." Four points to the singles of the last day, the men of the Old World came from behind to win with one.
However, it was during the four bulbs of the opening day where Colsaerts really shone. Besides Lee Westwood, he defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the 18th green. Remarkably, Westwood only came in one hole. Around in an estimated 62, Colsearts basically beat the American couple alone.
"I remember Tiger watching Lee during our race," he says with a smile. "He actually asked," who the # * ^! is this guy? Lee only shrugged his shoulders. He knew what I could do. But Tiger was really nice. He told me well played & # 39; at the end. Everything that Stricker said, was said to be great! & # 39; He is a nice guy, but on that day I do not think he did too well
"I do not remember much of the after party party on the Sunday night after we won, but I do know that I was the last player standing, I made it a point, the only other guys there were caddies and some of the staff All the other players were softies – which did not really amaze me! To be honest, some took it up too early and could not handle it later, and I remember the next morning I was on the bus to the I had been in bed for half an hour. "
For this week, Colsaerts arrives encouraged by its recent form. Apart from an unfortunate disqualification from the British masters, he did not miss a half-way cut in three months.
"Winning the Australian Open title would be one of the highlights of my career if I can do it," he says. "It has a great significance in our sport, I definitely want to add a few lines to my CV and getting my name on the Stonehaven Cup would be a good start."
And also no bad birthday present.