Most golfers trained to be robots and not show emotions - Marcel Siem

Marcel Siem believes golf is full of “robots”. He’d even been turned into one himself for a spell, but not any more.

Marcel Siem celebrates holing a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s in July. Picture: Christopher Lee/Getty Images.
Marcel Siem celebrates holing a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s in July. Picture: Christopher Lee/Getty Images.

The German lit up this year’s Open at Royal St George’s with a passionate performance and he is promising more of the same on the rebranded DP World Tour in 2022.

“The Open gave me a fresh boost in terms of my profile back home. It definitely did,” Siem told Scotland on Sunday as he reflected on providing one of the best golf stories of the year, having finished in the top 15 in the game’s oldest major after securing one of the last spots in the field on the back of a Challenge Tour win in France.

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From start to finish, the 41-year-old wore his heart on his sleeve, grinning from ear to ear and punching the air delight time and time again as he lapped up not only his personal joy but also the sheer excitement he created for spectators on the Kent coast.

“I think everybody is missing the emotions on a golf course nowadays. Most of the players are turning into robots and I was a little bit like this myself,” added Siem, a four-time European Tour winner.

“Most mental coaches don’t really allow players to be themselves. My new one, thankfully, is asking me to do that otherwise I won’t be able to compete again. But the young kids are trained to be robots and not show emotions and this is not good for television and it’s not good for the crowds.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it when I see a player hole an unbelievable putt but show no emotions at all. Even for me as a fellow player standing next to them, I think ‘that’s not right’.

“Golf is a sport and it should be about emotions and I think that’s what spectators want to see. I think that showed in my case at The Open. Even the Germans, who don’t really show much emotion liked it. In fact, they loved it.”

Marcel Siem in action during the recent Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by the R&A at T-Golf & Country Club in Mallorca. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.

While Bernhard Langer may have stayed straight-faced for most of his incredible career, which goes on and on, Siem says he’s noticed a change in his compatriot recently and is loving it.

“Bernhard has started to show more emotions,” he said of the 64-year-old, who beat his age for the first time last week in securing a sixth Charles Schwab Cup success on the Champions Tour.

“I love him anyway. He’s one of the best human beings I have met in my life. He doesn’t show emotions negatively. But, when he holes putts and wins, he celebrates now. It is perfection in terms of showing emotions.

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“He’s unbelievable. He’s 64 now and I think his family must be pushing him on to Twitter and Instagram. It’s so funny seeing him jumping in a pool and telling jokes.”

Marcel Siem, seventh from the right, celebrates with his fellow 2021 Challenge Tour graduates after earning a step up to the newly-branded DP World Tour, which starts next week. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.

Siem has paid his fair share of fines in the past as a consequence of some of his actions, but maturity bringing a different perspective has helped him secure a seat back at European golf’s top table next season as one the recent Challenge Tour graduates.

“Sometimes I look very grumpy on a golf course and that’s because I can’t enjoy scoring badly,” he said. “It’s so tough for me to smile when that’s the case. Some players can still smile when they play badly, but that’s their type of personality and the way they are.

“I find that tough and on Thursdays and Fridays, in particular, I could be an idiot on the golf course as I was so tough on myself. There’s a greediness in me sometimes. If I stay humble and be myself, it’s all good, but, if I don’t do those things, I won’t be in the top 50 in the world again - I will have no chance.”

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Along with fellow Challenge Tour graduates like Ewen Ferguson and Craig Howie, Siem is heading to South Africa next week to start the new DP World Tour season in the Joburg Open.

That also marks the start of the ‘The Road to the 150th Open’, with a broad smile breaking out on Siem’s event as he recalls this year’s Claret Jug event.

“The Open is the best tournament in the world you can play in and performing the way I did there was fantastic, especially on the Saturday when I made a triple-bogey on 14 but bounced back from that and the crowd was going bananas as I made some birdies,” he said.

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“That put a lot of confidence in me again. I’m 41 and you think that is quite old on tour now with all these kids in their 20s around and 10 years ago 40 was the perfect age in golf, or so it seemed anyway. That week showed me that I am still good enough to compete with the best at the top level and that was very important indeed.”

After playing mainly on the Challenge Tour in the first half of the year, Siem switched his focus to the main tour following The Open. In the end, he fell seven places short in the card battle through the Race to Dubai and heaved a huge sigh of relief that he was still able to secure his step up through the Challenge Tour rankings.

“I always had an eye on the Road to Mallorca standings and, after every tournament, I spoke to my team about it, asking if I could keep risking it,” he said of needing to finish the season in the top 20. “Most of my team kept saying I was going to be okay, but you are always afraid that might not be the case and there was a lot of pressure on me in the final few weeks.

“At Valderrama and in Mallorca, I was pretty much gone as I still had an eye on the Challenge Tour and I actually felt scared about what might happen. I knew I had to make the cut at Valderrama to get my card that way, but I had a few problems on the course and off the course, which I don’t want to talk about.

“But the momentum I had, which I still had at the Dunhill actually, I lost it somehow heading into the Challenge Tour Grand Final. I felt horrible, to be honest, as my confidence felt low again. I wanted to finish the season on a high as I had a great season, really, and, thankfully, it was job done in the end.”

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