Jaco van Zyl recovered from knee surgery over the course of last year and had a single hope for 2015 – to keep his European Tour card. He went one better and made the top 60 in the Race to Dubai, which earned him the privilege of teeing up at this week’s DP World Tour Championship.
“Last year I was lying on the couch not knowing what this year would be like. The goal at the beginning was to keep the card, and here we are after a couple of second- and third-place finishes,” he said.
The 36-year-old’s outlook has changed dramatically since he was side-lined and he relished the chance to compete against Europe’s finest.
“Your personal life reflects a lot on your golf and I’ve had a couple of glitches. I’ve managed to iron that out and I’m really enjoying it.
“When you’re out here for a long time you can take it for granted. You’re always worried about the stroke or how you’re hitting it, and being stuck on the couch really broadens your perspective,” he said.
This week’s limited-field event marks the close of the European Tour season, with the leading 60 players competing for $8-million at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Van Zyl came second at the Turkish Airlines Open a fortnight ago, where Frenchman Victor Dubuisson birdied three of his last four holes to sneak the win.
The South African rose to a career high of 16th in the Race to Dubai on the back of that Turkish result and this week he heads to the season finale ranked 20th.
He’s achieved his goal for the year and everything that he achieves in Dubai is a bonus.
“I’m just going to enjoy the moment and see what happens. I had a very good week in Turkey and had it going a little bit last week, so all-in-all I’m really enjoying it,” he said.