09 Apr 2020

Dominic Foos – Fully focussed on Challenge Tour graduation

When Dominic Foos finished 39th in his maiden European Tour outing at just 15 years old at the Nelson Mandela Championship, big things were expected of the German starlet. Two years later, the Dubai-based professional became the youngest ever winner in Challenge Tour history when he won the Gant Open at the age of 17 years, 347 days. Since then, he’s failed to reach the heights that he seemed destined for but the 22 year old is still a youngster of the game and is determined to make a name for himself once again after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

“To be honest I thought the Challenge Tour was going to be a lot easier than it was when I first started playing,” says Foos. “But I’ve realised now how difficult it is to get into that top 15 – the level just gets better year in, year out. This year they’ve changed it to the top 20 guys that get European Tour playing privileges but if you finish 19th you’re going to have a very weak category. My goal has always been to finish in the top ten as that’s going to get you into most events aside from the really big ones.”

The German made his European Tour debut at just 15 years old at the Nelson Mandela Championship

Foos’ goal of reaching the top 10 of the Challenge Tour Rankings looked to be on course in his first season after winning his first professional event at the GANT Open in 2015. But the win, in only his seventh start, was the only real positive in an inconsistent year which included nine missed cuts.

“I never really made a big deal out of winning at such a young age on the Challenge Tour as I expected to win early on. Even now I look back and see I’m the youngest ever winner of a Challenge Tour event and I don’t make much of it.”

I did expect to go on and win a lot more after that. At the end of the 2015 season, I knew what I needed to work on and I fully expected to finish in the top 15 in 2016 as I was feeling very confident. My game was solid and I didn’t miss any cuts but midway through the season I injured my wrist and that finished me for the rest of the year.

“I’ve had a few niggling injury problems over the years and I think that’s hindered me making that jump up to the European Tour. I didn’t play golf for six months after that wrist injury and I was surprised at how long it took me to feel comfortable on the golf course again. I felt like I lost a lot of my game over those six months but it was a very important experience for me.”

Change of coach

Foos, who has made Dubai his home for the last five years and is a member of The Els Club, had worked with Justin Parsons, former Director of Instruction at the Butch Harmon School of Golf, before deciding a change was needed to take his game to the next level. Up stepped Dubai-based coach and PXG Ambassador, Alex Riggs.

 

“I met Alex just after I moved here when he was working at the Butch Harmon School of Golf,” he says. “In 2018 I decided to make a change and spoke with him about becoming my coach and he was super pumped to be given the opportunity. It’s been going well and I love some of the ideas he brings up, it’s been a great year and a half working with him. He’s also one of my closest friends and my gym buddy so we have great chemistry which makes him very easy to work with.”

Abu Dhabi Joy

The change of coach seems to be working with Foos making a debut Rolex Series outing last year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after being crowned top UAE Resident at the Yas links qualifying event. A strong performance at Abu Dhabi Golf club followed with an 11th place finish amongst some of the biggest names in the game including Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.

“I was really pumped when I qualified for the event as it’s such a great tournament and I live here,” he said. “I played really well that week and finished 11th but at the same time, I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t finish in the top ten and make it into the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Foos in action at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was walking down 18 on the final day and I hadn’t looked at the leaderboard once but was thinking ‘I must be near the top ten’. I left myself a 15 footer for birdie and as I was walking up to green I saw I was 13th so I knew I needed to make the putt to qualify for next week. I made the putt and I was sure that was going to be enough to make the Desert Classic but Ian Poulter ended up kicking me out with a late birdie!”

Lockdown

With Dubai currently on lockdown, Foos has struggled to follow his standard practice routine and living in an apartment with no garden has added to his problems. But he’s not letting that get in the way of things and has found unique ways to keep the game ticking over during the current pandemic.

“I’m dedicating an hour each day to spending some time in the front of the mirror and working on my swing,” he said. “It’s not the most ideal bit of practice but it’s certainly going to help me when I can get back out on the course as I had been working a lot on my swing with Alex before the lockdown.

“Other than that, I’m trying to do lots of home workouts and spend the rest of the time binge-watching TV shows on Netflix which is nice I don’t usually get much time to do that. I’ve just finished Ozark which was awesome and just started Peaky Blinders as everyone has been recommending that to me!”

Fully focussed

Foos is not due back in action again until June at the earliest with the Andalucia Match Play 9 the next scheduled event on the Challenge Tour calendar. That might seem optimistic given the current climate and more tournaments look certain to be canceled or postponed but whatever happens, Foos is fully focussed on cementing his European Tour card for 2021.

“We’ll see how many events we end up playing but the number one goal for me this year is to get my playing privileges for the European Tour and I’d ideally do that by finishing inside the top 10 of the Challenge Tour Rankings,” he said.

“There’s such big uncertainty about when golf will return with the COVID-19 pandemic so there’s more important things to focus on right now but when we do start playing again, I’ll be fully focussed.”

 

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