Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts talks exclusively to Worldwide Golf’s Scott Grayston about his infamous partying days, his record breaking driving distance and the young compatriots he believes are destined for Major success.

The Dude

Rarely do you meet a person, never mind a golfer, full of magnetism and swagger but also as down-to-earth and laid back as they come. Nicholas Colsaerts is that man. Golf’s equivalent of “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski is one cool customer. He doesn’t take himself too seriously but don’t be fooled by his endearing off-course character, when he steps onto the tee, the Belgian is all business. You don’t win two European Tour titles and get picked to play in the Ryder Cup without having some serious game and Colsaerts, who finished tied fourth in last year’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, is capable of matching the best players in the world on his day.

Ryder Cup history

He proved as much when he made one of the most stunning debuts in Ryder Cup history in 2012. The 34-year-old was paired with Lee Westwood in the afternoon fourballs where they had the unenviable task of taking on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. But Colsaerts produced the performance of his life, rolling in eight birdies and an eagle to claim a vital blue point almost singlehandedly.

Competing against Tiger

The former Challenge Tour player had the chance to compete against Woods for the first time in a while at this season’s OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic and despite the former World No.1’s withdrawal after just one round, Colsaerts remains full of admiration for his Medinah rival.

“There’s such a great buzz when Tiger features on the European Tour,” Colsaerts says. “I’m not sure if he holds a grudge against me for what happened at Medinah because we’ve never actually spoken about it but he did shake my hand on the 18th and it felt genuine! When you are passionate about the sport and play against a player who plays at the top of their game, then you got to tip your hat and admire the effort.”

Belgian Bomber

A key feature of Colsaerts’ game is his phenomenal distance off the tee and never was it demonstrated more clearly than at Celtic Manor when he blasted a 447-yard drive to enter the European Tour record books at the 2014 Wales Open. It was a feat that proved why he’s known on Tour as ‘The Belgian Bomber’.

Nicolas Colsaerts celebrates a birdie putt on the 17th green as Tiger Woods looks on during the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.

“I hated the first nickname they gave me which was ‘Muscles from Brussels’ as it was already taken by Jean-Claude Van Damme,” he laughs.

House music

Famously fond of House music, Colsaerts once admitted to fearing he’d be dead by 30 during his wild clubbing days.

Party boy

He’s made it four years past that but he might not have had he not begun working with coach Ken Berndt in Australia at a time when he was partying more than he was practicing. Berndt not only transformed his game, but his lifestyle.

“I worked with Ken at the A-Game Academy,” says Colsaerts, “and not only did it help my game, but because I was away from friends and family for so long, it also gave me a lot of thinking time, which helped me change my approach to my career, and to life in general.”

Focused

These days Colsaerts is far more focused on the course than the clubs but he still loves his music so he was delighted when the European Tour introduced it to the driving range this season. “I’m an avid music fan so I think it’s great that they have tracks on the range at tournaments,” he says. “Although there have been some dodgy track choices like the Final Countdown by Europe which they played a few times at the Desert Classic – it’s a classic but it wouldn’t be on my playlist!

“I started listening to music when I was really young. I asked my parents to set me up with an old turntable at home and began listening to Motown and 60s music. Later I moved into electronic music when I was about 12 years old and I haven’t looked back since. I keep digging here and there to find new tracks and trends and delve into the electronic scene.”

belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (L) and Thomas Pieters (3rd left) with their caddies Brian Nilsson and Adam Marrow during a practice round on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Golf Course .

Role model

Two of Colsaerts’ younger compatriots have taken the limelight away from him in recent years after making a huge impression since emerging on the scene. Thomas Pieters followed in his footsteps when he earned a shock wildcard pick for last year’s Ryder Cup loss for Europe where he was arguably the best performer on the team, winning four out of five matches.

Thomas Detry

Thomas Detry was victorious by 12 shots at the Bridgestone Challenge last season – the largest margin of victory in Challenge Tour history, which helped pave the way towards him earning a European Tour card. Big things are expected from these two young men who both look up to Colsaerts as a major role model. “It’s up to them (Pieters and Detry) how far they go,” he says. “Pieters has been playing very well for the last couple of years. There are still a few steps that he needs to get over and I’m sure that he feels the same. There’s no doubt he is a very promising talent, who does everything really well. Detry also has huge potential and has more flair out of the two.

“Both the guys know that if there is something they want to ask I will always be there and try to give them the best advice possible. Pieters is up and rolling and knows where he is heading but it is Detry’s first year so he still seeks my advice every now and then. He’s done incredibly well so far so I don’t really see him slowing down.”

Veteran of Belgian golf

At 34, Colsaerts is now seen as the veteran of Belgian golf but don’t even think about asking him about his future plans. We tried that, asking him where he saw himself at 40, and the answer came back in typical ‘Dude’ fashion.

“I don’t even know what I’m going to do tomorrow!”

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