The DP World Tour touches down in Europe for the first time in the 2022 season, as the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain marks the first of two successive events on Spanish soil.
Bernd Wiesberger, Guido Migliozzi and Ewen Ferguson – winner of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, the last DP World Tour event aside from the Masters Tournament – are among those teeing it up at the stunning Infinitum just outside the Catalonian city of Tarragona.
Pablo Larrazábal returns home for the first time since claiming his sixth DP World Tour title at last month’s MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood in South Africa, while Alejandro Cañizares and Zander Lombard – who shared victory when Qualifying School Final Stage was held here in 2018 – as well as the 2019 Qualifying School winner at Infinitum, Benjamin Poke, are also in the field.
This week’s event will be followed by the Catalunya Championship at PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness, while October will also see back-to-back Spanish events, the acciona Open de España presented by Madrid at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid and the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters at Real Club Valderrama.
Bernd Wiesberger: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a little bit too long by about a week or so for my liking, but unfortunately I wans’t able to sneak into the Match Play at Austin so I had a week there without any tournaments.
“It was nice to be home obviously for three weeks but it just felt like after the season started with a nice run of events, I had a bit too long of a break but it is what it is and I tried to get ready as much as I could and I’m really looking forward to playing here for the first time.
“It’s a really good track to start what will be a good run of events through the year on the DP World Tour. I’ve tried to get some info from the guys who have been here at Qualifying School, and it is has been quite low scoring in the past.
“But I think they’ve done a really good job to trick it up for us. The rough is up, it’s quite penal, you need to be good off the tee and the fairways aren’t super-wide. It looks like there will be a bit of wind and the greens are quite firm so all that adds up to be a good test. You need to get yourself in good positions and I like that, so I’m looking forward to a strong test.
“First two weeks of the year were disappointing. I played well on the Sunday in Abu Dhabi but I just didn’t finish off the round well enough to clinch a top five. Sunday in Dubai was really tricky and I couldn’t find anything on the greens and everything just added up to shots lost.
“I’m not quite satisfied with the start. I definitely played some good golf at the Valspar Championship on the PGA TOUR but there’s plenty of good stuff. It just needs to be bundled up into four good rounds, it’s a building process and all of the parts of the game are there so it’s just a matter of time before it all clicks. I’m looking forwards to when that happens and hopefully I can give it a go this week.”
Ewen Ferguson: “I definitely feel very comfortable in my own skin. I had for the last little while too, but it’s nice mentally in your own head to feel like you’ve won here and you’ve got across the line for the first time. I know I can do it again so hopefully if I’m in that situation another time, I’ll know I’ve done it so I’m sure it will help me a stand me in good stead.
“It’s definitely sunk in now and I feel like I’m ready to move on from it and I’m ready to move on from it to be honest and get my game in order and get ready to compete again so I’ve been doing a lot of work the past few days to keep my game sharp and hopefully that will pay off this week.
“I had so much to do with the people who have helped me a long the way so I’ve spent a lot of time with them and given them my time and let them know how thankful I was, and then I had some media in Scotland so I dealt with all of that.
“I had a couple of nights out with friends and family, nothing too crazy. Then I had some football games supporting Rangers, so it was good fun.”
Pablo Larrazábal: “It has been three weeks at home, but I had a tournament in my home course, El Prat, called the Barcelona Open by Pablo Larrazabal that I held on the PGA of Spain. It has been a nice three weeks at home. Infinitum is one hour and 15 minutes up the road, so I came this morning. It is nice to see my caddie again, my friends and see the people in my second home.
“I am ready to go. I have been playing great, been practising great at home. There is nothing wrong with three weeks at home. To keep the momentum, you have to keep working and keep the routines going. That is all about preparation.
“Well, as a professional golfer you have to realise that you are an entertainer. You are a sportsman but mostly we are entertainers. The first year to 16 months of golf during the Covid-19 pandemic were tough. As I said to you, I am an entertainer of people and we were not. We played 16 months with no crowds and that didn’t help my golf, my attitude at all. To play for money is not the way I play golf nowadays.
“There is history around here but when I was growing up here in Tarragona, we were playing Reus that is nearby, we were playing Costa that is up north. I never played this golf course before. Today is my first nine holes out here.
“I came here four years ago to see a couple of friends on the last day of the Final Stage at Q-School. Those are my only two days at this course. But after nine holes you realise how good this golf course is and the conditions are brilliant. Hopefully the rain stays away from here so that we can see how good the work is of the groundsmen.
“There are a lot of lakes, but you guys know me. I have been on Tour for 15 years; I didn’t come here for holidays and to make business you have to make birdies. Birdies are going to bring you trophies. That is why we came and that is how I play golf.”