Rafa Cabrera-Bello: Looking forward to the next chapter of his life on and off Tour

The days of the European Tour schedule being a nine or ten month season are long gone and it is now very much a global tour which lasts the whole year round, giving us players more chances than ever to reach our goals. Without question mine for 2018 is to make the Ryder Cup team.

After what has been an extremely rewarding but very tiring year of golf, I’ve finally played my last event of 2017, which was actually the first event of the 2018 season – the UBS Hong Kong Open. The modern-day European Tour simply doesn’t stop apart from a small break over Christmas. The Tour just keeps going and with events taking place in almost every corner of the globe these days it’s really more of a ‘World Tour’ than a ‘European Tour’ which gives players plenty of opportunities to reach their goals.

A major goal of mine in 2018 is to make The Ryder Cup team and help Europe try to win the trophy back from the USA. I had my first taste of the competition last year and it’s something that once you’ve had a taste, you can’t wait to go back for more. For the second year in a row I narrowly missed out on victory in Hong Kong, which was disappointing as it would have put down a strong marker in my bid to make Thomas Bjørn’s team.

But congratulations to Wade Ormsby for finally winning his first title after something like 13 years on and off the Tour.I know how tough it is to win out here. I was in the hunt many times after winning my second title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2012 but had to wait until this summer, when I won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, for my third title.

I felt like I had a great chance to make it four in Hong Kong. I was tied for the lead going down the last and my mindset was that I was going for the win, rather than trying to get into a play-off with Wade. My caddie and I decided I should take an 8-iron with my approach and I hit an aggressive shot straight at the pin. I thought I’d hit a perfect shot and it was probably a metre short of being just that, but the ball rolled back down the front of the green and into the bunker.

I left myself a putt of around eight foot for par, which was longer than I would have liked in that situation, and unfortunately it just missed and slipped past the right edge of the hole. Of course I’m disappointed that I missed the opportunity to win, but at least I put myself in the position where I had the opportunity and I’m doing that on a consistent basis which is what great players do.

It was still a good performance to end a very good year of golf in which I won a Rolex Series event, enjoyed my highest finish yet on the Race to Dubai – seventh place – and got to grips with playing on the US PGA Tour where I came close to my first win at the FedEx St Jude Classic.But you can be sure I’ll back in Hong Kong next year to try to finish the job as I definitely feel I have unfinished business there.
For now, I’m looking forward to a break from golf and by the time you read this I’ll be a happily married man. My wedding is going to be in Gran Canaria with around 400 guests including family and lots of friends – some of them from the Tour and lots of non-golfers as well. My partner Sofia and I are then flying off on our honeymoon for two weeks. It will be a wonderful celebration and the start of a new chapter in my life.
See you in 2018!