Compleat Golfer’s playing editor Brandon Stone begins his next 12 months with us in a new frame of mind.
Well folks, here we are. A new decade has arrived and as with most new things, it offers us limitless opportunities. From a personal perspective I’m starting my second year as Compleat Golfer’s playing editor and am looking to build on what we started in 2019. I hope you’re enjoying the interaction. As we get to know one another even better, please send any questions – within reason of course! – to the magazine (email [email protected]). I’ll read everyone of them and offer as much feedback as I can.
Even though I’m in my ‘office’ when I’m out on the golf course, I appreciate every bit of support I get. It’s one of the few professions in the world where our work is on public display when we are in tournament play, so there’s no hiding place, or anywhere to ‘park’ the bad shots. Obviously, I enjoy the interaction and seeing familiar and new faces. Pleasefeel free to share your thoughts with me, although for now let’s keep themto what’s happening on the golf course!
But, with a new year and new calendar hanging on the wall, what are your plans and ambitions for 2020?
As far as things go for me, I honestly couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead in the next 12 months. The time I have spent back in South Africa has been nothing short of spectacular. Being able to play nine holes late in the afternoons with my buds at some of my favourite courses was something I have missed so much while getting caught up in the hurly-burly of playing on Tour most weeks and being based in our new home outside London.
Yet, the most important thing of all: I feel comfortable in my game, I really do.
There’s an opportunity to get the year off to a flying start at the SA Open, the first big event of the year. Obviously this tournament holds a special place in my heart, like it does for any patriotic South African golfer. And the memories which followed my victory at the 2016 tournament at Glendower are still fresh in my mind. If you recall, 2016 was a great breakthrough year for me as I also got to represent my country at the Rio Olympics.
So a strong performance at Randpark Golf Club could be exactly what the doctor ordered for 2020 and set me up for a similarly successful year.
After that we head to the Middle East, to Abu Dhabi for the HSBC Championship, followed by the Dubai Desert Classic and the Saudi International in King Abdullah Economic City.
The Middle East events are rich with World Ranking points, mainly due to the high appearance fees the world’s top golfers are able to secure. The likes of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson will be present, which raises the profile of these events. Although they are lucrative for these players, there’s another reason for the tournaments’ appeal.
A strong showing by someone outside these ranks, like yours truly, could catapult the season into something special. Featuring on a Sunday afternoon would help one climb the World Ranking. And then if things were to start taking shape you can dare to dream of the dangling carrot that is still not too far out of reach – an invitation to Augusta National in the first week of April for The Masters.
Now, with all this said, I’m off to the golf course to work on my game. Opportunity waits for no one.
Follow Compleat Golfer’s playing editor on Twitter @BrandonMStone and on Instagram at brandonmstone.