Manchester Evening News: Matt Nixon on a huge week in Spain
Article posted: 01 January 1970
I’ve been here before and that gives me confidence for a lot of reasons.
The situation I’m in this week is pretty simple; with one tournament – the Andalucia Valderrama Masters – left I probably need to finish third or fourth to finish in the top 116 in the Race to Dubai Order of Merit to keep my European Tour card for next year.
I’ve been here before and that gives me confidence for a lot of reasons. I remember in Australia in 2014 being physically sick on the Sunday morning, knowing that I needed a solid round to keep my card. That is the most pressure I’ve felt, going into a golf tournament, knowing that my job is on the line and I got through it.
Your caddy can help you but you’re the only one hitting the shots and it comes down to you. I’ve had the good and the bad of this situation and I think that’s a benefit
The following year I lost my card and I know that it’s tough, but life will go on and there will be more opportunities. I’ve been there in the last spot inside the mark on the money list with everything to lose but this feels like I’ve got everything to gain and that’s what I’m taking into this week.
I’ve had three weeks off because I didn’t get into the last two tournaments and, sitting at home, you feel helpless because people around you are gaining and where I need to be has got further away. I feel like I’ve been playing well which makes it even more frustrating.
I went down to see my caddy Nick and had three days playing at Bowood in Wiltshire and it was nice to get away and get some good work done.
Valderrama is one of the toughest tests we face all year and it’s borderline unfair at times! The first time I played it, I think I hit two bad shots and was 14 over.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain how difficult these courses can be when they’re set up for tournaments. They’re long, with penal rough and quick and firm greens. It’s in the folklore of golf, they’ve had the Ryder Cup there and we all love playing it.
It might look like it, but my season doesn’t come down to this week. I didn’t do much in the nine or 10 events at the start of the year and where you finish is about the overall year.
For a long time, I was questioning whether I was good enough and last year I found myself a lot of the time needing six good holes to make cuts and missing out. Mentally, I’ve stopped overtrying and been able to play golf approaching the standard that I think I can, with the same attitude I’d have if I was having a knock with my mates at home.
What I’ve done in the second half of the year is prove to myself that I can play well under pressure and compete. All I can do is go out there and give my best. I feel like my game is in good shape and you never know what’s around the corner.