WEEKS off can be hectic for professional sportsmen. Just ask Marc Warren, who arrived at Wentworth having failed to tick off either of the items on his to-do list last week.
“I had two things to do – get a new dinner suit and get a haircut – and I didn’t manage to get either of them done,” revealed the Scot, insisting that had been an indication of how busy he had been doing other things and, with a young son in the house, that is perfectly understandable.
Dinner suits, of course, are not a regular requirement in a professional golfer’s luggage, but this week is a special one on the calendar as players and officials reflect on the previous year’s successes at the European Tour Players’ Awards.
Having been among those to achieve one of those last year – he won the Made in Denmark event – Warren was glad to find himself back at the glitzy bash after an absence of seven years. He received a reminder of that previous occasion from something that had been left in the pocket of his one and only suit for such formal occasions.
“The last time I had a dinner suit on was that time in 2008,” he said smiling. “It still had a business card in it from a guy I met at that dinner. That was the last time I had the dinner suit on and I only have the one. I’ve only had to wear lounge suits up until last night. I was just delighted the fact it fitted more than anything else!”
Back wearing his golf garb, Warren won’t be lacking in terms of incentive when he sets out this morning along with nine compatriots in the BMW PGA Championship. For starters, it’s an event he came close to winning two years ago, when, after putting himself in a great position in the final round, he eventually lost in a play-off to Matteo Manassero. “It’s a course I enjoy playing,” he said. “Obviously, it’s the flagship event and we get treated so incredibly well here, get spoiled to be honest and you enjoy that as much as you can.”
Secondly, Warren can use the next four days to tie up a US Open spot at Chambers Bay next month without having to go through the ordeal of a 36-hole qualifier at Walton Heath, even though he passed that test to play in the season’s second major at Merion two seasons ago.
“I need to be in the top 60 when the world rankings are published on Monday and I’m 57 at the moment,” he said. “I’d be surprised if I dropped out. But, when you’re inside, it’s in your hands and you want to play well and take control of it yourself. The way my game’s feeling, and on this golf course, I feel as though I could do that.”
Like Stephen Gallacher, Warren is pleased to be back on the European Tour after a spell of playing mostly on the other side of the Atlantic. “At the WGCs and majors there’s lots of the European guys and familiar faces about,” he said. “But, at the regular PGA Tour events, it’s mostly the American guys and the Europeans based over there I don’t know that well.
“In a way it’s pretty cool because you feel a bit like a rookie again. But coming back here it’s nice to speak to guys saying ‘well played’ to you, and it does make you feel a little more natural, more comfortable.”