What keeps me going in tough moments?
People often ask me questions about different aspects of my game and what inspires me at certain moments – such as a real pressure putt or a vital shot. Some wonder how I manage to keep practicing when I am really tired and not feel like it. Others ask how I lift myself up when times get tough. The answer is that I love tough moments and that I want to enjoy them just as I enjoy the nice ones. When things go bad, I say to myself; “pick yourself up, and do better”.
Nobody taught me to be ambitious. I’ve always known that in order to become great at anything, you have to love what you are doing and be able to miss and say “hey, I’m not going to do that again and this is why”.
In times of pressure I use moments of inspiration to ensure that I am ready to fight. These are moments such as the hole-in-one, which I recorded on the 11th hole at the Dubai Desert Classic in February 2011 or my long putt at the ninth in the last round in Qatar for a birdie in 2009. Other moments are my putt for par in the fourth round of the Spanish Open on the 17th hole in Seville 2010 or the second shot at the 18th hole in the fourth round at the Dunhill in South Africa in December 2006. It was a par five with water all around the green and I knew I needed a birdie to win. I made the green but left myself with a long putt, which went first uphill, then downhill and had a double break. I holed it and won the tournament. When I stand before pressure shots I think back on these moments and think “I have done it before, so why not do it again?”.
I try to draw inspiration from being able to celebrate the moment, which is something I learnt from Tiger Woods. He continuously challenges himself and throughout all the success he has enjoyed, he never fails to celebrate, in order to retain that moment for future inspiration.
When I was younger I used to watch Olazábal and Seve win tournaments, which inspired me to want to be as good as them. Chema is also an example to us all, being a real gentleman both on and off the golf course. I hope that’s how people think of, and will remember, me.
And last, but certainly not least, I draw huge inspiration from knowing how much my parents sacrificed to enable me to pursue, as a young amateur, my quest to become a successful professional.
I cannot thank them enough.