Nicolas Colsaerts at peace with his game after ‘toxic’ self-criticism

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Nicolas Colsaerts (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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Nicolas Colsaerts believes he has turned a corner in his mindset after a period of “toxic” self-criticism.

Late in 2021, the Belgian was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition and has openly admitted he has struggled to reassess his goals as a three-time DP World Tour winner.

Colsaerts, who was part of Team Europe’s memorable Ryder Cup triumph at Medinah in 2012, has since combined working in television commentary with playing out on Tour.

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And having swapped working behind the microphone at the opening two events of the year for teeing it up back on the course, the 41-year-old is in good spirits after surging into contention at this week’s Ras Al Khaimah Championship with a second-round eight-under-par 64.

“It’s bizarre. I have learned a very valuable lesson that being self-critical is toxic which I have been over the last couple of years,” he said after moving to ten under par at the halfway stage.

“And after working TV the last two weeks I realised when I call shots of other people, I say that is OK but if I would have had the same shot, I would have been p * * * * * with myself.”

In a Commentator’s Column ahead of last week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic, Colsaerts spoke of his continued belief in his ability and perfectly demonstrated that on Friday at Al Hamra Golf Club.

After a 70 in the first round, he made five birdies on his front nine from the tenth before carding an eagle on his back nine to go bogey free.

“I was very much at peace with how I was playing,” he said of how he has approached his first week back of the new year.

“I mean, when you get on a roll like that and you see the breaks and see the shots and they come out the way you want to, it is a pretty nice morning.

“You realise that even the best players in the world don’t hit it where they want to all the time. You just look at how rounds are made and how momentum shots are key in a round which I have done yesterday and today. But it is a bit of an eye opener.

“You think when you have been doing this for a long time you would actually know that, but it is good to have a reality check from time to time.”

Colsaerts won his most recent DP World Tour title at the Open de France back in 2019 – at a time when he was playing to retain his playing privileges – so how is he feeling about his chances of mounting a title challenge over the weekend?

“I still don’t hit enough fairways but if I can keep the ball in play with the way that I have handled myself the last two days I think I could be up there,” he assessed.

“But then I don’t really have any reps. I have only been hitting for 45 minutes of range balls the last couple of days.

“[However] It is a little reminder that there is still a good golfer in there somewhere.”

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