Grant Forrest, who will be part of history this week as players will be allowed to play in shorts for the first time in professional golf in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa, is aiming to be in Bob MacIntyre’s slipstream during the 2020 European Tour campaign.
While MacIntyre grabbed the headlines last season by recording seven top-10 finishes to be crowned as Rookie of the Year, it was also mission accomplished for Forrest in his first year on the circuit.
The 26-year-old from North Berwick comfortably held on to his card as well by finishing 94th in the Race to Dubai, having had his playing privileges locked up halfway through the campaign.
Now, four days after the end of the 2019 season, the new one is about to get under way, with Forrest’s sights set on playing in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai rather than being a spectator, as he was last week while practising in the UAE.
“You always want to keep improving and there were a few things holding me back that needed tidying up,” said Forrest, who believes that box has been ticked since linking up with a new coach, Robert Rock Academy-attached Liam James.
“I am taking a more of a long-term, bigger picture view of things. I want to win golf tournaments. I don’t really see the point of just keeping your card every year and being satisfied with that. It’s not how I am as a person. Obviously it is nice to have my playing privileges for the new season, but I want to do better.”
Partly due to a niggling wrist injury, MacIntyre will not start his 2020 campaign until January, but Forrest is being joined in this week’s event at Leopard Creek by David Drysdale, Calum Hill, Doug McGuigan, David Law and Connor Syme.
“It is a huge learning curve in your first year,” added Forrest. “The Challenge Tour sets you up well, but it still isn’t the same as you are up against more better players. In the Rolex Series events in particular, you see where your game is in realtion to the top players. You see the areas you need to improve and the areas you think might not be as good but actually are.
“Knowing all the courses, or most of them, is also a big help. I know what to expect and what kind of scores you need to be shooting.”
Made jointly by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, the decision to allow shorts in Mpumalanga came about due to an expected heatwave, with temperatures set to rise to 38 degrees on Saturday.