Rafa Cabrera Bello: 2017 will be tough to beat but I can’t wait to get back out there

A Rolex Series victory, top 10 Race to Dubai finish and marrying the girl of my dreams definitely made 2017 a year to remember.

I’m excited to get back out there to try and improve on what was the most successful year of my professional golf career in 2017 where I won my third European Tour title at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, enjoyed my highest finish on the Race to Dubai (seventh) and had some good results in the US on the PGA Tour.

It was also a great year for me off the course and the biggest change for me in 2018 is that I begin the year as a married man! Sofia and I were married in Gran Canaria last month and it was a really special occasion to share with family and friends over three days. As well as the ceremony, we organised activities such as go-karting, paintball and a golf day – so it was a lot of fun. At the reception, I arranged a special surprise for Sofia when my friend Ronan Keating came and sang. After a fantastic honeymoon in New Zealand we enjoyed a lovely Christmas with our family and now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to go again.


I’m beginning my 2018 schedule at the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia as a member of a very strong European team. My biggest goal this year is to get in to Thomas Bjørn’s Ryder Cup team. It’s the same for most of my European colleagues, so the EurAsia Cup, where Thomas is also the captain, is the perfect event to show what we can do as well as getting in some vital team match play practice, which is something we don’t get to do too often. I think you can see by the strength of the European team for this year’s EurAsia Cup that the other players are also thinking about the Ryder Cup and it should be a great event for the players and fans.

After the EurAsia Cup I’ll be back on ‘home’ soil in the UAE and I’m really looking forward to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. I’ve been fortunate to have been a winner of the tournament and one of a long line of Spanish players, such as my idols, Seve Ballesteros and José Maria Olazàbal and my good friends Miguel Angel Jiménez, Alvaro Quiros and, most recently, Sergio Garcia to have won this great tournament. It really is a Who’s Who of Spanish golf. For me, the Emirates Golf Club has the best layout in the region in the Majlis course – and I’m not just saying that because I won on it! It is a complete golf course. It’s always in excellent shape and it’s a course all the players look forward to playing. Another plus for me is that it’s in the fantastic city of Dubai, where I now live. Every time I go to the course and see my name on the Desert Classic trophy it gives me a positive feeling and when I tee it up there again this year it will definitely bring the memories of my victory in 2012 flooding back.

It was an amazing week. I shot nine-under on the first day so I was leading right from the off. I felt I was in contention, which I enjoy because it means that all your shots matter and that everyone is paying attention to all your moves. I was playing great and feeling very comfortable after a decent streak of results prior to the event. Having the chance to win and taking risks like I did with my approach shot from the trees on the 16th that came off for me was unbelievable.

To go ahead of Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher in the final group, with Rory McIlroy in the group behind, and win the tournament was amazing. It catapulted me up the World Ranking and opened the door for me to enter the Majors and move my career to the next level. I’ll be thinking about those memories when this year’s event gets underway and it would mean the world to me if I could repeat my 2012 victory.