‘I still find it crazy’: Matt Wallace hopes hard work pays off at Augusta

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Tommy Fleetwood vows to continue taking risks for major Augusta reward Read more “The golf ball doesn’t know where you are, who you are playing with. You have got to make that ball do what you want to do.”Wallace’s rapid rise is worthy of reflection. In 2015 he was an Alps Tour player. “I’d have laughed at you,” he concedes when asking what his reply would have been about the prospect of an Augusta berth four years later. What sets Wallace apart from so many of his contemporaries is a tendency to win; including three times on the European Tour in 2018 alone.“I still find it crazy that I’m here now,” he adds. “But I’m 36th in the world and, if I think I’ve made it, there are 35 better players than me. I have grown up with a sporty family where I wanted to win in everything. Tournament golf is no different. You want to beat everyone there. Who knows, I might not ever win again but I think a lot of people would say I will and can.“I use where I have come from as motivation. I haven’t thought: ‘I’ve made it.’ I know how intensely I need to work to keep up the quality of my golf. I can’t switch off. I’ll be like this for the rest of my career. I look at how hard Padraig Harrington worked, how hard Vijay Singh worked.”Another prominent player, Nick Faldo, has taken Wallace under his wing. Wallace had an existing friendship with one of Faldo’s sons, with the three-times Masters champion’s support extending to company for Augusta practice holes on Sunday. Wallace’s caddie, Dave McNeilly, was once Faldo’s bag-man. “He’s quite a good person to go to, isn’t he?” Wallace says of Faldo. “Maybe he has seen a little bit of himself in me and it’s nice; I know he doesn’t do this for everyone.”Wallace was widely considered as unfortunate not to have earned one of Thomas Bjørn’s captains picks for last year’s Ryder Cup. That he did not qualify automatically raised questions over the points standing of European Tour events. Wallace did not let any sense of dejection linger. “It was just disappointment,” he explains. “I felt like I had done everything I could have to make it. It was frustration and I felt like I deserved to be in that team, for sure. They went on to win so that backs Thomas’s decision. It doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done the same job. It’s just maybe it wasn’t my time. Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Support The Guardian Share on Messenger Share via Email “I feel like sometimes golf is a progression type business; it will hopefully work in my favour where I will make plenty more Ryder Cups. Some people make a team, then don’t make the next few or struggle to get in. If I keep playing the way I am, I feel like I can make the next Ryder Cup and plenty more.“As soon as Europe won the Ryder Cup, I went straight to the driving range. Before the last match had even finished I sent out an Instagram post of ‘2020 starts now’. Thomas picked up on that and said it is why I’ll be in Ryder Cups for years to come, because I used disappointment as a motivation.”Recurring success seems to do likewise. Share on WhatsApp US sports features PGA Tourcenter_img The Masters Share on Pinterest Golf Since you’re here… Share on Facebook Matt Wallace’s confidence could be regarded as problematic were it not backed up by results. “The world hasn’t seen the best of Matt Wallace yet,” said the Englishman as he prepared for his Masters debut.There are shades of Ian Poulter in the approach of the 28-year-old. It is no shock to hear that he will be shooting for the stars at Augusta National. “I don’t think the 36th in the world would ever go there just to make up the numbers,” he says. “I’m there to compete, there trying to win. If I can give myself a chance come Sunday, you know I’ll be trying to win the tournament. Share on LinkedIn Topics Share on Twitter European Tour Reuse this contentlast_img read more