23 Feb 2022

Nicolas Colsaerts to reassess goals following diagnosis of rare kidney condition

Dubai’s resident golf ranking has been given a boost as former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts has relocated his family within striking distance of The Els Club. The Belgium bomber won his first DP World Tour event back in 2011, but it was his debut appearance the following year at the 39th Ryder Cup when he stole the headlines.

Despite being a rookie, he teamed up with Lee Westwood in the Friday Foursomes carding eight birdies and an eagle to defeat the heavyweight pairing of Woods and Stricker on the final hole. Colsaerts’ star was shining bright and the golfing world expected his stellar Ryder Cup performance to springboard his career to the next level, but he had to wait seven more years before he lifted his third DP World Tour title at the Open de France. I always enjoyed watching him play, as his effortless power and calm demeanour is reminiscent to Davis Love III, the only difference being the short stick. Love was a solid putter and unfortunately Colsaerts rarely broke inside the top 150 putting stats on the DP World Tour.

That was the heartbreak, as tee to green, he was arguably one of the best ball strikers in the history of the DP World Tour. This year, he turns 40 and his focus is more off the course than on. With a young family to look after he’s also been diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. We caught up with him in Dubai to discuss the challenges he’s facing and why living in Dubai has provided the perfect home base for him to get back on is feet.

You’ve recently moved to Dubai, why did you decide to make the move over here?
The list is long, there are many reasons! My wife and I are parents to two young boys and we’re living in a place where all we have is an apartment, we’re after space, multilingual schools, the accessibility of practice for me so all of these reasons made Dubai the perfect choice.

Which club will you be based at?
I’ve been coming to the Els Club for quite some time but living here at Victory Heights in Sports City the Els Club was always the number one choice. They’ve been really nice to all of us, letting us use the golf course or the health centre or any facility that the place had to offer So I’m quite happy to call the Els Club home.

What are your favourite things to do in Dubai away from the course?
Well they have changed over the years because I have been coming here for about 20 years so we used to go out a lot when we were younger, we played in the Dubai Desert Classic and the Abu Dhabi Championship and also went to Qatar for many years. The level and the quality of the golf courses are always second to none, there is always so much to do whether we go on a safari in the desert or go to shopping malls, restaurants, the list is endless really.

You recently posted on your Instagram account that you’ve had a bit of a health scare. How are you feeling and how is this going to affect your golf this season?
The way it’s going to affect my golf is a little bit of a question mark, I’m sick but I don’t feel sick, I’m going through an immunosuppressant treatment so I’m going to be at risk for the next couple of months as I won’t be producing any antibodies so travelling is going to be very difficult for me . Then I am hoping I can play as many tournaments as possible. I’ve been a loyal supporter of the DP World Tour so I hope that I’m going to be able to go to the events that I’ve always liked playing over the last 20 years and see what this year has in store for– me.

You did some TV work at the DP World Tour Championship last year, is that something you can see yourself getting into more when you retire from golf eventually?
Maybe I will, it’s one of the things that I’ve always been attracted to and enjoyed doing. The feedback hasn’t been too bad so far (laughs), I’m lucky enough to have been surrounded by English-speaking friends so I also understand the humour which is important. I do enjoy the on course commentary, though I don’t know whether it will be a reality for me in the next couple of years or later on but it’s definitely one of my options.

Either that or is it too late to reinvigorate your burgeoning DJ career?
The love of music is always there, I always say that my life is golf but my real passion is music. The turntables are up and running in the living room, I had a little bit of spin in New Year which is going to be kept as a private matter!

What goals have you set yourself for this year?
I’m going to have to reassess my goals this year looking at my health situation. I’ve just played the Desert Swing events which was great being able to stay at home and with my family, instead of being in a hotel and away from them all.

You haven’t played in a Major since 2018, how important is it for you to get back those events over the next few years?
The Majors are the biggest tournaments that we get to play and I do miss playing on the big stages, my results over the last couple of years have not really allowed me to get there but whichever it might be I would be quite happy to play in one of those Majors again. The courses are just so difficult and I really enjoy the challenge.

We’ve seen the likes of Thomas Pieters follow in your footsteps of making their name on the Tour over the last few years, what does the crop of young Belgian golf look like?
Belgian golf is pretty healthy considering how small our country is and how much is put into place for juniors. We’ve been able to produce two Ryder Cup players in four or six years which is quite incredible. It was only a matter of time before Thomas Pieters won again. What I really loved about Thomas Pieters’ win in Abu Dhabi, is that he seized his moment, he took control of the last difficult day when he could have lost patience around the turn. But he didn’t and that’s the evidence of him maturing into a phase where his career can only flourish. There are a few other young players who are doing well in the amateur scene in America. I think for a small country we have done very well and I think there are a few other surprises in store.

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