02 Jan 2024

Marcel Siem EXCLUSIVE on LIV Golf, ball rollback plans and how he’s back to his best

A veteran of the game, but still only 43 years old, Marcel Siem enjoyed a fantastic season last year which nearly culminated in him clinching a PGA Tour card. It wasn’t to be in the end, but 2023 was a season full of highs for the German. Will Kent caught up with the five-time DP World Tour winner to pick his brains into how he’s managed to rejuvenate his career, while also getting his views on all things related to the game of golf.

WWG: What a year you had last year, Marcel! But first of all, how come you’ve now decided to call Mauritius your home?

MS: I love this place. We’ve lived here since January last year already, and I really fell in love with the island. I’m ambassador for Heritage Golf Club and have been for a number of years, and I spend a lot of winters in here, Christmas and New Year’s. I just got so familiar with everyone. The people are so nice and so friendly, especially the villa owners as well. We just decided to move. I always wanted to live on the golf course. You know, it’s too cold in Germany in the winter time and I think my golf recently showed that was a good decision because I’m fit 12 months a year, literally.

WWG: Your Mauritius move seems to have coincided with an uplift in form. What exactly has been the key to seeing better results?

MS: Definitely being able to practice every day, living golf a bit more. You know, I wake up at 5.30am, go to the gym, go early to the range, and then play 18 holes, then by 11am I’m done. Finished with my work. I can see the kids and my wife. You know, I think the quality of life, the work and life balance is fantastic here. That helped me a lot, especially the way I work with my life coach, not being so hard on myself, enjoying life a bit more, and letting the ‘feel’ come out of you. I think it’s very important. Whatever job you do, you have to enjoy it, otherwise you will never perform, and I think that was it. And my coach, he got my swing back as well, so we shouldn’t forget that.

WWG: Did you feel like a great season was just around the corner, or did the success of 2023 come as a bit of a surprise?

MS: I never really lost the confidence that I’ll be back to playing like I was in 2012, 13, 14. A lot of stuff happened in my private life and I think the that year I went back to the Challenge Tour I proved myself, you know, getting my card there, which is not easy with all the young lads. I was by far the oldest guy there, and that was a nice confidence boost. And The Open in 2021, performing like this in front of the crowd, it showed me I can still do it. I was really keen on coming back and yeah, that was I knew was something in the pipeline but didn’t expect with the qualifying school category to have such a year straightaway.

Siem finished T-15 at the Open in 2021
Siem finished T-15 at the Open in 2021

WWG: Many people regard you as one of the veterans on the DP World Tour with over 500 starts. How have you managed to stay at the top level for so long?

MS: It’s definitely fitness level. You need to love the sport otherwise you will give up at one stage because you will have some injuries here and there. I mean, that’s in sports, that’s normal. You just have to work through it. You need a very, very good team, which all believe in you. I have very, very good guys around me and I think that’s needed. If you look at Bernhard Langer, I mean, he’s my idol. This guy is unbelievable. I speak not that much to him, but three, four or five times a year, and he’s so fit. I think that’s the only way to do it.

WWG: You came close to securing a PGA Tour card last year, but unfortunately fell short. Are you using that near-miss as motivation for 2024?

MS: Yeah, for sure. That was always my dream and I’m quite happy now that it didn’t work out because we just moved here to Mauritius. To get the card there, then you have to do another move again. I think settling in here in Mauritius, getting everything ready, and then getting the PGA Tour card would be better. I think that’s a great thing, that’s our plan and what we want to achieve. And I’m not sad anymore. In Dubai at the DP World Tour Championship, I was injured. I couldn’t really give 100% so I think I didn’t look too happy that week. But I’m really proud and happy about the season this year, so it’s all good.

WWG: The DP World Tour goes to Bahrain next year for the first time in over 10 years, how cool is it for guys like yourself to play in new territories so often?

MS: I love that. I’ve never been to Bahrain, so I definitely want to go. I love to go to new places, especially when you’re on Tour for how many years now? 22 years. So, it’s nice to go to places like the Belfry, and Wentworth is awesome, but I always look forward to seeing new venues. It’s really cool.

WWG: Professional golf looks quite fractured at the moment, especially with Jon Rahm’s recent move to LIV Golf. What’s your take on the whole situation?

MS: It’s a tough question, nobody really knows where it’s going. I didn’t expect Jon Rahm to go to LIV Golf, to be honest. But it is what it is. I think we all have to sit down after the festive season, though, and see where it goes. It’s a tough one. It’s for all of us to say ‘it’s cool, it’s not cool, we hate it, we love it,’ it’s very difficult for all of us.

WWG: And finally, what’s your take on the plans to roll back the ball for both amateurs and professionals?

MS: I feel very sorry for manufacturers, like Titleist and Callaway, because they put so much work into designing golf balls and getting it better and better. On the other hand, I think it could play to my hands. I’d like to shape the ball. I don’t like that every ball goes straight. So, I’m okay with that. But like I said, I feel sorry for four for these companies because it’s going to cost them a lot of money.

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