Colsaerts ready to build in 2013
Mark Garrod focuses on Ryder Cup rookie Nicolas Colsaerts as he looks ahead to the golf year to come.
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Ryder Cup rookies are not supposed to play like Nicolas Colsaerts did in his first match in Chicago.
Certainly not when they are up against a 14-time major champion.
The 30-year-old Belgian's eagle and eight birdies were the stuff of dreams all right and in the immediate aftermath of his win alongside Lee Westwood he said: "When somebody like Tiger Woods looks at you and says 'great playing man' you understand you have done something pretty good.
"I've never had so much fun and I want to have more."
Colsaerts will have the chance in 2013 - not in the Ryder Cup, of course, but in just about every other big event going after his climb into the world's top 50 and his achievement in earning a PGA Tour card.
Europe's biggest hitter - his average of 318 yards this season was three longer than America's number one bomber Bubba Watson - will be licking his lips at the prospect of tackling Augusta for the first time in April.
Not that length is a guarantee of success in the US Masters, despite the evidence of Watson's play-off victory there last spring. Just ask Alvaro Quiros.
The Spaniard has missed the cut on three of his four visits and while he did open with a 65 last year his next best round is a 73.
While Quiros' career took a couple of backward steps in 2012 Colsaerts made the sort of name for himself that few would have expected just three years ago.
Back then his world ranking stood at 1,305th and he looked a classic case of unfulfilled promise, a talent wasted in the simple pursuit of having a good time around the world.
Colsaerts did not have a European Tour card. He did not even have one for the second tier Challenge Tour. But after going away to Australia for a period of introspection he came back determined, focused and on his own admission more mature.
"I knew I was going to be a bit of a clown at one stage of my life, but I've always said I had my mid-life crisis at 25," he stated.
"It's a bit of a fairy story, I know, but I'm just living proof that anybody can do it."
Except that not anybody can hit a golf ball like him, or hold his nerve to win the Volvo World Match Play in Spain or rise to the occasion like he did at Medinah.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal saw the potential when he named the 30-year-old as one of his two wild cards and now Colsaerts feels ready for the challenge of the PGA Tour.
"You have the best players in America," he said. "This is perfect timing for me.
"I've had a pretty good year and it's maybe time to have a taste of somewhere else and see if it's the tour I will be playing for the next couple of years."
Or much longer if things go well.
"The courses suit me maybe a little better than the ones we play week in and week out in Europe.
"The conditions are just unbelievable. It's a kid's dream to play on courses as immaculate as these."
It will not be all plain sailing, of course, but at low moments he can always think back to what he did at the Ryder Cup - "the wildest rollercoaster ride I've ever been on", as he described it.