Malaysian No 1 Gavin Green will have dad Gary on the bag for the final stretch of the 2020 European Tour season, beginning with this week’s ZAR19.5 million (approx. US$1.27 million) Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The European Tour stays in South Africa next week for the ZAR19.5 million Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, following which the tour’s members have a choice to make – stay on in the Rainbow Nation for the ZAR19.5 million South African Open at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, or head to the Middle East for a new event, the US$1.2 million Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Fire Course.
Gavin has opted for the Dubai event as it is followed immediately by the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah’s Earth Course on December 10-13. This will be the long-hitting Malaysian’s first appearance in the finale, reserved for the top 60 players on the European Tour’s Race To Dubai rankings with a whopping prize fund of US$8 million on offer.
“I’m really excited about the final stretch of the season as I’ve started to get some momentum, which is good,” said Gavin, currently ranked 42nd on the Race To Dubai.
In his last outing at the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown two weeks ago, Gavin finished joint seventh for his third top-10 and sixth top-15 in 14 European Tour starts this year. Despite a niggling left wrist injury which saw him withdraw from the Scottish Championship in mid-October after playing through the pain in the previous week’s BMW PGA Championship, he is well on course for his best season yet in Europe.
“The wrist definitely is better, I’m not in pain and hopefully it stays this way,” said the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, who turns 27 on December 28.
Gavin noted that he has been working with coach Chris O’Connell on a few swing tweaks to prevent the injury from flaring up again. “It’s taking some time for me to get used to the changes but I’m definitely improving. Sometimes bad habits creep in but that’s normal, it happens to everyone. It’s shaping up nicely.”
With Gary’s on-course and off-course companionship for the remainder of the season, Gavin is feeling really upbeat about the home stretch. “It will definitely be fun. I haven’t seen any friends or family for two months now; it’s not easy being away. Having dad here makes it better!
“Under these circumstances with quarantines in place, it makes it way harder for them (Gavin’s family) to come out and go back, so it’s really nice that dad is here.”
And it looks like Gary is also playing a chef’s role, as and when cooking facilities are available at their chosen accommodation for the week. “Nothing like home-cooked food, nothing beats proper Asian and Malaysian food,” enthused Gavin. “We have the best food in the world!”
This is Gavin’s third full season on the European Tour and he has consistently improved from year to year, reflected in his final Race To Dubai rankings – 85th in his rookie year in 2018 and 69th in 2019. Asked if he has a target set for his final Race To Dubai finish this year, Gavin responded: “I just want to finish the season as well as I can. I’ll focus on doing the best I can every time I step out on the course.
“Hopefully it leads to a win at some point!”