David Moir, Special to Gulf News
If you’re tuning in to the Czech Masters this week you may just notice a familiar face on your TV screen. Dubai-based professional, MG Keyser, has secured an invite to the 1 million euro European Tour event and he’s hoping to build on past experiences as he looks to secure full-time membership on Tour.
“My game is feeling strong heading into this week,” said the 2019 MENA Tour champion. “It’s so hot in Dubai right now but I’ve had some good practice sessions with the limited amount of time you can actually spend outside. I played this tournament in 2019 and did well for the first two rounds but a slow weekend saw me slip away. The course challenges every part of your game and I feel it suits my style so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out there.”
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Most, if not all, of those practice sessions would have been at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, which has been a home away from home for the 34-year-old in recent years. The world-class facilities, including two courses that have hosted European Tour events, make it the ideal base for any golfer looking to hone their game across the year.
“Dubai has been my home for seven years and it’s been amazing so far,” he said. “Jumeirah Golf Estates has been great to me over the last three years and I couldn’t have asked for a better club to call home. The team up there are the best in the world and both the courses and facilities are perfect for anyone that wants to improve their game.”
Keyser’s trip to Albatross Golf Resort will be his fourth European Tour start of the season having played in the double-header in Kenya and the Made in Himmerland in Denmark. The South African started off with a disappointing missed cut in the first of two events in Nairobi before superbly firing back with a top 50 the following week, where he had been contending in round one after posting a brilliant 65.
He failed to reach those heights over the next three rounds but it was proof to Keyser that he belongs at this level.
“I do feel like my games suits the big stage and it’s always nice to play against the best out there,” he said. “The first goal is to always make the cut and I’ve actually achieved that in most of the tournaments I’ve played so my mindset has sort of shifted more to getting into contention for the final few days and having a good weekend for a change.”
Keyser’s life as a professional golfer is somewhat different to many of the stars he will be facing this week. While the likes of Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson were winning Majors and collecting eye-watering cheques worth millions of dollars, Keyser was working his way round the mini tours waiting for his big break in the game. It’s the day-to-day life that many professionals, who have not quite made it to the more established tours, can resonate with as they travel around the world in search of their next payday.
“Life as a pro is definitely challenging and COVID-19 just made it even more difficult,” he said. “The obvious financial pressure is a huge challenge for any professional these days. It’s a very expensive life we live because of the costs of travelling so securing a European Tour card would definitely help with my profile to get some decent sponsorships on board.
“It would also give me the opportunity to compete week-in-week-out in bigger events. I should be playing in two or three more European Tour events this year and I’ve also got a couple of starts on the Challenge Tour so I’m hoping to have a few good finishes and win one of them. You’re only ever just one big week away.
“Getting full-time membership and having more opportunities to have that ‘good week’ would definitely mean a lot to me.”
Fans in the UAE can catch all the action from the Czech Republic live on Dubai Sports TV with Keyser kick-starting his week at 11.03am UAE time on Thursday alongside Matthew Baldwin and Berry Henson.