Bernd Wiesberger has established himself as one of the most consistent performers in Europe. Since the 2015 season, the 36 year old has made the cut in 83% of the events he’s played on the DP World Tour and been victorious on six occasions.
2021 has been a challenging year for most people dealing with the restrictions COVID-19 has brought to every day life but the Wiesberger has enjoyed one of his finest seasons to date after victory on hometurf in the Made in Himmerland tournament helped make his childhood dream come true.
When asked about it at an Audemars Piguet event at Dubai Els Club, there’s only one word Wiesberger uses to describe the experience of becoming the first Austrian to represent Europe at the Ryder Cup… “Goosebumps!”
“It has always been a career goal for me to be part of the European Team so it’s definitely a massive motivator for me going forward to be part of the team again. I want to be wearing the same badges as the 11 brothers again because the bond is unbelievable in the team.
“We had a great mixture of veterans in Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia who were unbelievable in their support towards the rookies and young talents like Viktor Hovland and Fitzy (Matt Fitzpatrick), so it was a lovely group and we had such a good time regardless of the outcome. We had great support from all angles of the Tour and Ryder Cup Europe so it was an honour to be part of the team and hopefully it will be a massive motivator for years to come.”
The 6”2’’ golfer lost all three matches he was involved in during the 19-9 thrashing from the States. But the entire team just came up against a formidable opposition in Whistling Straits.
Wiesberger proved himself as one the world’s elite when he triumphed in two Rolex Series event in one year at the 2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and the Italian Open. He’s currently 61st in the world but has his sights set on breaking back into the top 50 to enable him to compete in all the WGCs and Majors, both of which he would love to add to his trophy cabinet. “I will have a mixed schedule between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour this season but I do need to claw a little back in the World Rankings to make sure I get the Major starts,” he says.
“I believe the Ryder Cup gives me one or two starts through some exemptions to tournaments like the Memorial Tournament. One of big focuses for the early part of the season is to get myself into The Masters in April. There’s a lot to play for and I look forward to a strong start to the season on both tours.”
It was a topsy turvy ending to the season for Wiesberger. He finished second, just one shot back from Joachim B Hansen in the AVIV Dubai Championship on the Fire course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The following Sunday he shot the lowest round of the DP World Tour Championship with a final round 63. The trouble was he was was already 11 over par coming into the last day.
“I felt that the heat got to me a little bit on the first three days,” he admits. “I felt a little dizzy, lacked energy and definitely wasn’t 100%. However, I had nine and half hours of sleep on Saturday night, which isn’t normal for me, and I felt much better on Sunday.
“On the final day there was nothing to lose. I played some really good golf and tried to enjoy my last competitive round for the season. Everything just clicked so it was a nice way to finish with a round like this for 2021 which has been a memorable year for me.”
Wiesberger loves coming to the Middle East to compete. Every year since 2012, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has been his season-opener and he’s been successful enough on Tour to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship on nine out of ten occasions. But what’s his favourite event in the UAE? “I enjoy coming to the DP World Tour Championship the most because it means you’ve had a decent year!” he says. “The Middle East is a great destination to play tournaments, hopefully I can make it to the ones starting off early next year.
“There’s going to be an event in Ras Al Khaimah and I haven’t been to the new venue in Qatar so it would be nice to include that in the schedule. My sponsor Slync.io have become the title sponsor of the Dubai Desert Classic and they are really trying to elevate that tournament with it becoming a Rolex Series event as well so I’m excited to begin my season with the Desert Swing.”
The UAE has almost become a home away from home for the players who compete on the newly-named DP World Tour with new tournaments being added to the tour year after year in this region. Wiesberger is a huge supporter of golf in this part of the world. “The Middle East has been very supportive of us and the DP World Tour. We’re very fortunate to have a base down here as our season starts and ends here every year.
“All the courses here just keep improving and the quality is exceptional because you have the likes of: Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Greg Norman designing golf courses here. It’s always nice to be able to come out here for a couple of weeks to compete and chill.”
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